We’re currently advertising for a National Whale and Dolphin Watch Assistant for summer 2018 so we asked Lauren, our helper in 2017, to tell you all about the role…
Being National Whale and Dolphin Watch (NWDW) Assistant, will feel so daunting to begin with, not only are you adjusting to a new environment and new people, you are responsible for events all around the UK. But you’ll love it!
I applied for the position during the end of 2016. Desperate for a UK placement where I could still enjoy dolphins and not be stuck in an office all day. New Quay was perfect, a lovely view of dolphins from my desk and hardly a minutes’ walk to the pier where dolphins could be seen nearly daily.
Lauren and Amanda enthusing visitors to New Quay Pier, whilst Anna records watch data on dolphins in the background.
Kathy (Sea Watch’s Sightings Officer) took a huge chance on me, as the youngest person all season, and one of the only undergraduates, I’m glad I didn’t disappoint! Having the chance to work with different people from all walks of life was amazing! I was surrounded by talking cheat codes on how to thrive in marine conservation.
You will make contacts all around the country and learn such amazing things, from the first minke sighting of the season in Yorkshire to how often pods of 50+ bottlenose dolphins are spotted in the Channel Islands. You’ll gain such an appreciation for the vast variety and abundance of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) around the UK.
My summer with Sea Watch allowed me learn so many new skills and get some great experience in event management and being organised!
The first half of my time with Sea Watch was a lot of admin, currently I have sent nearly 3000 emails in the six months I’ve been here, posted over 200 watch packs, and publicised countless events. It’s not all emails and paperwork though! I got to channel my artistic side with posters and leaflets, even helping decorate statues for our local events!
Lauren worked with Peapod Junction on a dolphin treasure hunt around the town during the National Whale and Dolphin Watch.
Apart from my NWDW jobs, I also got to take part in training courses, surveys, and public engagement! It’s lucky I love talking, though I’m sure people wish I talked less about dolphins. Now that our season in New Quay is over, I’m sure the locals definitely appreciate me not walking into their stores with a different event to advertise every couple of weeks!
National Whale and Dolphin Watch is an enormous time for Sea Watch, it’s our extra push during the summer to involve and educate more people. With events taking place all around the country, and fun games and activities every day in New Quay, it’s the most tiring and fun week you’ll ever have! You can go from answering phone calls from excited volunteers to face painting dolphins within seconds. Don’t worry though, everyone digs in and works super hard to make sure everything goes great! Even if it rains most days like it did last year!
Surfers Against Sewage came along to help with our National Whale and Dolphin Watch beach clean.
After NWDW finishes, you’ll be chasing people for their effort forms, apologising for the typical British weather, and beginning the almost endless job of data entry. Data entry might sound dull, but it’s fantastic, you get to learn what everyone saw, as well as the odd amusing comments, like a daring jellyfish rescue! Plus if you’re like me, you’ll love seeing how many hours were completed compared to others, as well as watching your species count go up and up…
Don’t worry if this sounds like a lot, Kathy and Katrin (Sea Watch’s Monitoring Officer), and all the interns are fantastic and always help as much as they can.
Honestly though, you will have an amazing time, and people will remember you! I’ve been on courses down in Cornwall and met people who know me from my emails, you’ll make friends for life, and you’ll gain some fantastic experience in a lovely town.
Don’t think it’s all work and dolphins though, you can do some other amazing things; I went kayaking with some locals, attempted to ride a horse, and visited tonnes of amazing locations.
Saying farewell to Lauren in nearby Aberaeron.
It doesn’t make a slight difference if you’re younger or less experienced than other people there, they will help build you and support you while you develop, Kathy and Katrin are full of wit and loving support, like the cartoon devil and angel on your shoulders ready to pick you up if it’s been a long day, or to push you on new challenges you never thought you would do.
My summer in New Quay was, exhausting, rewarding, inspiring and utterly unforgettable!
But don’t just take my word for it, why not apply and see for yourself..!
Dolphin Olympics on the beach as part of the National Whale and Dolphin Watch.