Wednesday 3 January 2024

Long-Term Volunteering – Hear It From Them!

Two of our long-term volunteers from 2022 kindly answered a couple of questions for us about their experience of volunteering on Skomer. Don't just take it from us - listen to them!

Lira Valencia

Lira smiling and wearing gloves.

Lira, in her new job at Walthamstow Wetlands, holding a very small spider!

When were you an LTV on Skomer? Hello everyone, my name is Lira and I was a long-term volunteer during the Autumn (July-October) on Skomer Island. 

Favourite memory/ies from Skomer? I initially applied to volunteer on Skomer island for the hands-on experience and to gain some practical conservation skills, however I soon learnt that Skomer had so much more to offer than I expected! The weather was absolutely stunning during these months which made exploring the island such a treat- I had countless unforgettable swims with puffins over my head and seals below my feet! For someone like me, who loves wildlife and nature, you could spend hours exploring the island and almost always finish the day admiring a spectacular sunset. With no shops on the island, one of the most valuable things I learnt was how to make a gooooood bread. And with the island being cut off from the mainland water supply, I also became so much more aware of water wastage and my bad habits around water usage. These are things I didn’t expect to learn but I am so grateful for- you won’t learn these things unless your living on an island like Skomer!

What are you up to now? With the help from the Skomer island team (they are incredibly supportive and helpful) I got my first job in the wildlife sector the week I arrived back home! I now work with the London Wildlife Trust as a Visitor Engagement and Volunteer ranger at Walthamstow Wetlands - the largest urban wetlands in Europe! Without the skills and confidence gained from my Skomer experience, and without the encouragement from the amazing staff, I wouldn’t have applied for my current job. Skomer island will always be a special place with some of my favourite memories ever! 

Anna Weir

Anna standing by the Farm.

Anna working on her personal project inside one of the exclosures on the island.

When were you an LTV on Skomer? I was a long-term volunteer on Skomer from July - October 2022.

Favourite memory/ies from Skomer? I loved spending last summer as an LTV on Skomer island. I have so many happy memories of my time there. I learnt so much about Skomer's wildlife and what it takes to run a small island nature reserve (delivering welcome talks, wildlife surveying and fixing signs and benches!). I enjoyed meeting volunteers and visitors, sharing golden summer evenings with the puffins, and climbing into caves to monitor the seals pups! However, my standout memory has to be the night spent assisting with the storm petrel ringing. Having a tiny storm petrel sat in my hand with Manx Shearwater flying over head and waves crashing in the background was certainly a magical and unforgettable experience.

What are you up to now? After leaving Skomer I have started a new conservation internship on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. Here I have been assisting with a variety of conservation projects from vegetation management in the cloud forest upon Green Mountain, tagging the Endemic Ascension Frigatebird chicks, to counting Green turtle tracks and nests on the beaches. Skomer was a great stepping stone in preparing me for this internship because, whilst I'm no longer just a 10 minute boat ride away from the mainland, many aspects of island living remain similar.

For full details on the roles and how to apply for 2024, please see our website:


Monday 1 January 2024

Long-term volunteer applications for 2024 are OPEN

Long-Term Volunteers

On 1st January, applications for long-term volunteering on Skomer for 2024 go live. Our long-term volunteers form an integral part of the island team. Assisting with day-to-day running of the island and supporting the wardens, visitor officer, and field worker with visitor engagement and wildlife monitoring. Simply put – we could not run without them!

Sunset at Garland Stone © Skomer VO

We have three Long-Term Volunteer positions available in 2024:

  • 2 positions Saturday 23rd March - Saturday 6th July
  • 1 position Saturday 6th July - Tuesday 1st October

We also have one Seabird Monitoring Volunteer position available in 2024:

  • 1 position Tuesday 21st May - Tuesday 25th June

What can I expect?

Public engagement

Skomer welcomes up to 250 visitors a day, and provides accommodation for 16 overnight guests. Staff and long-term volunteers work on a rota to deliver engaging welcome talks to visitors – sharing their favourite parts of the island, as well as any exciting updates (i.e. the first seal pup of the year hidden amongst boulders in South Haven, swallow chicks ready to fledge in the indoor picnic shelters, or a woodchat shrike calling at Moorey Mere!).

2023 LTVs Maddie and El prepare to run morning boats - © WTSWW

Long-term volunteer Eve (2022) stood in North Haven. The Dale Queen approaches in the background. Eve is running afternoon boats.
Long-term volunteer Eve (2022) runs afternoon boats © Skomer Assistant Warden

Additionally, we host several overnight events over the course of the year. Long-term volunteers help to run these events. These include our family friendly Shearwater Week and Young Birders’ Week.

Long-term volunteers Lira and Anna (2022) identify moths with Bee and Ed, as part of Young Birders' Week © Skomer Assistant Warden

Seasonal wildlife monitoring

Skomer is internationally important for seabirds, with over 42,000 Puffins, 30,000 Guillemots, 10,000 Razorbills and almost half the world’s population of Manx Shearwaters – a staggering 350,000 breeding pairs. The island is also home to an abundance of other wildlife, including breeding Chough, Curlew, and Peregrine, Atlantic Grey Seals and its own endemic sub-species of bank vole - Skomer Voles.

A pair of razorbills © Skomer VO

Seal pup in Pigstone Bay © Skomer VO
The team complete a Manx Shearwater census in 2023 - © WTSWW

The team are responsible for monitoring, and counting these incredible species. The latter part of May into June is a particularly important time, with our seabird counts taking place during this period. Long-term volunteers are joined by a seabird monitoring volunteer to complete our annual census of cliff nesting seabirds and Manx shearwaters. Seal monitoring takes place from August onwards, with our first pup usually being seen in the first week on the month.

We also monitoring our breeding birds, carry out butterfly transects, and set moth traps. 

Long-term volunteer Lira (2022) carries out a butterfly transect © Skomer Assistant Warden

There is always wildlife monitoring going on, and long-term volunteers get stuck in with every aspect! Additionally, there are nearly always opportunities to get involved with the work our researchers are carrying out – ranging from Manx Shearwater chick weighing, to gull chick ringing.

Long-term volunteer Becca (2021) assists with Manxie chick weighing © Becca Wanless / LTV 2021

Maintenance Skills

Living away from the mainland means that when things break there isn’t always a ‘professional’ around to fix it…the quickest way is often to do it yourself! With the support of staff, long-term volunteers assist with maintenance tasks. In 2022 this included: fixing benches, building boardwalks, repairing burrows, painting, carpentry, widening paths, etc. 

Long-term volunteers Lira and Anna (2022) prepare to fix a bench in North Haven © Skomer Assistant Warden

Training (and PPE) is provided in the use of relevant tools and equipment. Long-term volunteers are also expected to assist in the cleaning and management of visitor accommodation and facilities when required.


We admit we are likely biased, but Skomer is a pretty cool place to spend 3-months. Alongside learning new skills and living on a National Nature Reserve, you’ll get to meet and work with people from all walks of life.

Some of the team of 2023 at a dungarees and folk music social - © Skomer VO

How can I afford to volunteer?

We recognise that volunteering for an extended period of time can be tricky. Unfortunately, for many early career conservationists this balancing act can be too much. We’ve been working to make volunteering on Skomer more accessible, and offer the following benefits:
  • Free accommodation (including bills) for the duration
  • Travel expenses to and from Skomer (from within the UK)
  • Training budget - may include brushcutter, first aid course or Powerboat Level 2
  • £350 bursary for LTVs and £250 bursary for Seabird Monitoring Volunteer is also available from the Friends of Skokholm and Skomer upon completion of a report which will be included in their newsletter.

Please note, all expenses must be claimed back through the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. We are unable to pay for travel or parking upfront.

Interested in applying? Apply here.

Please note that the deadline for LTV applications is 23:59 on Sunday 28th January 2024 and for Seabird Monitoring Volunteer applications the deadline is 23:59 on Tuesday 13th February. For any queries regarding long-term volunteering, please email 

We look forward to receiving your application. Pob lwc!

Rob, Skomer VO.