The National Marine Aquarium is delighted to welcome Sir Ben and Lady Ainslie as National Marine Aquarium ‘Ocean Ambassadors’.
As Ocean Ambassadors, Ben and Georgie will work with the National Marine Aquarium (NMA) to connect young people and their families with the Ocean and promote pro-Ocean behaviour. Through their personal experience and connection with the sea, and with the expert support from the team at the NMA, Ben and Georgie will be well equipped to inspire the nation to think about their actions for the greater good of the Oceans.
The most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Ben has won medals at five consecutive Olympics. Ben is now Team Principal and Skipper of INEOS TEAM UK, the British Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup in 2021.
Ben and Georgie join the NMA in its concern that in the UK, and many other countries across the world, young people can go through their school life without learning about topics relating to the Ocean, despite the ocean representing the largest living space on the planet and being essential for the survival of all of us. The NMA hopes to see marine elements added to the National Curriculum in the future and implores the Department for Education and other statutory bodies to look at ways of supporting teachers to deliver these. Ben and Georgie agree there is an urgent need to educate future generations on our marine environment to protect Ocean health.
Whilst in Plymouth, Ben and Georgie’s first duty as Ocean Ambassadors will be to visit a local school with the NMA’s Outreach Team. They will meet with the pupils from St George’s Primary School and get involved with the NMA’s team, which help school children make magnificent marine discoveries from the comfort of their own classroom.
Based in the UK, the National Marine Aquarium is a conservation education charity providing informal learning experiences to more than 300,000 people who visit its 4,000 marine animals every year. As an educational charity, the team deliver formal curriculum-led learning to 30,000 children on site, and a further 10,000 through regional outreach. In its 20th year, the National Marine Aquarium has launched a national outreach programme with the first hubs in Cardiff and Newcastle. The charity has set itself a target of reaching one million school children and young families a year, within the next five years, and Ben and Georgie will play an important role in helping to achieve this goal.
Roger Maslin, CEO of the National Marine Aquarium, commented: “Ben and his family will be a great addition to our growing team of Ocean Ambassadors, setting a positive example for young families across the UK. Ben has an incredibly strong connection with our Oceans, which makes him a great advocate for encouraging our visitors and supporters to get involved with solving some of the issues facing our blue planet.”
Ben added: “As a family, we are excited to be supporting the National Marine Aquarium. We spend much of our time out on the water, so really understand the importance of looking after the Oceans. My experience of sailing has allowed me to see first-hand some of the unfortunate effects we have on our Ocean, so we want to help inspire pro-Ocean habits in other families. By supporting the NMA’s excellent Discovery and Learning programme, we also aim to inspire tomorrow’s leaders to protect our Oceans and promote the message of Ocean health and sustainability.”
When asked how she sees their future involvement with the NMA, Georgie said: “Living so close to the Ocean, walking our dogs on the beach and seeing our daughter wading and playing in the water makes you realise there is a huge job to be done in looking after what we have where our Oceans are concerned. That job is all of our responsibility – we are happy to help the NMA in whatever way we can.”