Volunteer in Poipu Kauai with the Beach in View!

Wonderfully different in its landscape, the sunny south shore features fantastic chances to explore! With the beach almost always in view, Poipu Kauai shows off – with its limestone formations that meet the beach, gardens bursting with exotic plants, and chances to view endangered mammals you can’t find outside Hawaii. Volunteer Poipu to get up close with some of the leading science and environmentally centered programs on the island.  

Monk Seal Protection and Education

Though not an uncommon sight here in Poipu Kauai, the Hawaiian monk seal is a severely endangered species, with only 1,400 at last recent count. Described as incredibly cute, it’s understandable that these big ol’ beach blobs attract a lot of attention when they decide to relax on the beach after a gluttonous hunt on Kauai’s reefs. But, since they are the second most endangered species in America, disturbing or engaging with monk seals is a big no-go. With such a large population of visitors frequenting the island, education of monk seal behavior and safety is an important task that volunteers can assist with. Volunteers willing to give up a few hours at a time with Monk Seals Kauai, will take on the responsibility setting up rope and sign perimeters and educating curious onlookers about this endemic marine mammal.  

National Tropical Botanical Garden

Located in Koloa just west of Poipu Kauai, the National Tropical Botanical Garden south Kauai location offers unique, educational volunteer opportunities for those of us that enjoy keeping company with plants. NTBG has massive greenhouses and nurseries, gardens and exquisite tropical plants that require constant care so there is never a shortage of fun outdoor activities for volunteers. True stewards of native Hawaiian flora, NTBG at Allerton and Mcbryde gardens is a fascinating chance to learn about the science and efforts behind tropical plant conservation plus the history of and cultural value of these beautiful and rare plants.   

Surfrider Foundation Beach Cleanups

One of the most engaging and frequent volunteer opportunities on the island is beach plastic clean-up with the Kauai Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Chances to make a huge physical difference on our beaches take place in Poipu Kauai as well as all over the island. Discover lesser known beaches and famous ocean vistas while you share stories and great times with other beach loving locals and visitors. The chapter’s extensive website includes the upcoming beach cleanup volunteer opportunities, as well as in depth information on their Blue Water Task Force and Net Patrol programs that provide invaluable environmental support. Don’t miss out on the chance to meet and learn about the ocean ecosystem that we all adore so much!

Makauwahi Cave Reserve

Sunk into the limestone formations on the Mahaluepu heritage trail in Poipu Kauai, the Makauwahi cave reserve is a surprising and unique chance to step into the archeologic history of Hawaii. The only cave of its kind in Hawaii, this special site has revealed important and interesting biological history of these amazing Hawaiian Islands. Free tours take place at the cave Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 2pm and other tours are available by appointment.

If any of these Poipu centered volunteer opportunities caught your eye, below is a list of resources you can use to plan and learn more about this distinct and friendly part of the island!


Inspired to volunteer on other parts of Kauai, too? Check out our volunteer opportunity listing by moku

Emma Cornish Jacobsen

Emma Cornish Jacobsen is an AmeriCorps VISTA Alumni of Malama Kauai, who served the North and East sides of Kauai Island developing local food and agriculture programs, and educating youth. Strong family ties to the island inspired her to move to Kauai to continue her grandparents legacy of giving back to the island community through sustainable service. Emma holds a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, where she focused on Environmental Writing and Literature. She hopes that her writing will encourage visitors to seek out community building experiences and local food while they explore Kauai.

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