Isle of May NNR - Getting involved

Get involved as a volunteer at the Isle of May. There are also opportunities for outdoor learning and research.





Our volunteers get involved with a range of tasks - from visitor management to seabird monitoring.  There's always a lot going on, and we really value the help we get from volunteers.

We recruit volunteers for the Isle of May annually.  Ideally we're looking for people who can stay for the whole season.  We usually have space for 2-3 long term residential volunteers on the Isle of May each season. 

Recruitment for volunteers in 2022 has closed. 

Outdoor learning

The boat trip out to the Isle of May is the first part of a great experience for pupils and students. We are keen to help out with educational visits. Where possible, reserve staff will be available to support your class visit – either to provide a short introduction to the island or to accompany your whole visit.

If you’re interested in visiting the island with a group, please contact the reserve manager.


Reserves are used for a wide variety of research and survey projects, including individual informal surveys, student dissertations and academic study. We’re very keen to encourage this, as it adds to our understanding of the reserves and the wider natural heritage. We support research that is in line with the interests of the reserve.

There has been a research programme on the Isle of May since 1966, when the Nature Conservancy Council first declared the island an NNR.

Research on the Isle of May is supported by NatureScot in partnership with other organisations – in particular the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the Sea Mammal Research Unit. A number of universities and colleges also work on the island.

We have accommodation for up to 16 researchers or students in shared bunk rooms. There is a shared kitchen and living area basic lab facilities – benches, microscopes, etc. Please bring your own bed linen, towels, food and other equipment. At peak season, the accommodation can be fully booked. 

Landing on the Isle of May is restricted, so please contact the reserve manager before heading to the island.


Please email our reserve manager for more information about volunteering, outdoor learning or research at the Isle of May NNR. If you would prefer to talk to someone, please phone our office in Cupar.

Reserve manager: David Steel
Email: [email protected]  
NatureScot Cupar Office telephone: 01738 458800

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