It might be getting close to the holidays but the Welsh Sea Watchers project is still in full swing! With about 30 Pembrokeshire volunteers eager to learn all about cetacean monitoring and recording, Sea Watch’s Welsh Development Officer Katrin headed down to the Dale Fort Field Centre last Friday to tell them all about Welsh cetaceans- and how to get involved in cetacean conservation themselves.
Amongst the eager volunteers were not only members of the public but also volunteers from the Dale Fort Field Centre, National Trust, Pembroke Coast National Park and the National Coast Watch Institute. Before braving the wintery elements during the practice landwatch, the attendants learned all about Welsh Sea Watchers Project, how to get involved, how to spot, record and report cetaceans and of course, all about the most commonly spotted cetacean species in the UK.
Did you know the Sea Watch Foundation manages one of the most extensive and longest running sightings networks in the world? More than 2000 members of the public as well as Sea Watch staff and volunteers have submitted sightings. While a lot of these sightings are ‘casual’ sightings, Sea Watch volunteers also collect environmental ‘effort’ data, which is essential to our research, allowing us to monitor whales, dolphins and porpoises not only in Wales but also throughout the UK.
After the theory, the volunteers headed out for a landbased watch, hoping to catch a glimpse of at least one of the species of cetaceans that had been discussed in the talks. Unfortunately the weather was not very favourable, the wind having picked up through the day and on this occasion no cetaceans were spotted.
Neither the lack of cetaceans nor the impeding rain did anything to dampen the attendants’ spirits, however.
“The course was a very useful introduction to the work of the Welsh Sea Watchers Project,” said one of the volunteers, ”I learnt a lot about the Project and about these fascinating creatures. It has crystallised my interest and I plan to volunteer and get directly involved!”
Does this sound like something you would be interested in too? Getting involved with the Welsh Sea Watchers Project is easy, whether you are looking to gain experience for a career in Marine Biology or simply looking for a fulfilling hobby. You don’t need to be a marine biologist involved, you just need to have a passion for cetaceans and happy to donate a couple of hours of your time every month. Whether you want to get involved in field work, want to raise awareness of Welsh cetaceans in your local community and via the social media or want to share your enthusiasm for marine wildlife with younger generations through school visits and talks, there is something for everyone!
If you are interested in getting involved with the Welsh Sea Watchers Project, contact our Wales Development Officer Katrin on firstname.lastname@example.org for information.