‘Championing Marine Life’

11th April 2017

A guest blog from the Wembury Marine Centre

All of the work we do at Wembury (and beyond) contributes towards The Wildlife Trusts’ vision of ‘Living Seas;’ a vision where the marine environment is managed sustainably for the benefit of all its inhabitants and where people are inspired by marine wildlife and value the sea for the many ways in which it supports our quality of life.

The Marine Wildlife Champions Project has been running for three years now, thanks to funding from the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, with the aims of:

  • Increasing knowledge and understanding of the marine environment and the challenges it faces
  • Encouraging students to take the lead in effecting behavioural change in their school and local community (to champion the cause of marine wildlife)
  • Encouraging students to explore their own creativity and present findings to a wider audience.

In each year of the project we have worked with 10 different schools and colleges across Plymouth and South Devon.  Each school nominates at least 10 Marine Wildlife Champions, who will take the lead in developing a project within the school community or beyond which will have measurable outcomes for the good of marine wildlife.

The funding allows us to spend at least half a day in each school, introducing the project to the Marine Champions and presenting them with major challenges facing marine life, which they will then have to discuss and vote for one to base their project on:

The funding also allows us to provide free transport for the 10 participating schools to attend our annual Marine Wildlife Champions Beach Conference, where all 100 Marine Champions join us at Wembury Beach for a fun day of activities based around the five challenges, as well as some good old rockpooling!

Another great thing about this project is being able to work with local partners, all of whom share our vision of empowering the next generation of conservationists!  Experts from The National Marine Aquarium, The Shark Trust, The Marine Biological Association and Devon Wildlife Trust join us at the beach conference to deliver the challenge activities and we are very grateful to them for giving up their time to do so.

The project culminates in June, with a presentation session at the National Marine Aquarium, where the Marine Champions deliver short presentations/films/artwork on their projects and have a tour of the aquarium!  At the last few presentation days we have been consistently amazed at the achievements these Marine Champions have made, including their ability to present their messages and findings with passion and determination.  Each year we have been joined by VIPs such as MP Gary Streeter, marine experts and national marine policy officers, all of whom have spoken very highly of the children and the project as a whole.

Thank you to all the young Marine Wildlife Champions who will no doubt change the world one day and to the teachers who have supported them, to our funders at the National Marine Aquarium and all our partner organisations and volunteers who support the project!


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