Sea Watch Sightings Officer Dr. Chiara G. Bertulli had a chat with Josella Hunt, who is the great creative mind behind the beautifully made sighting maps which adoptees (people who joined our Adopt a Dolphin Scheme) receive every month. Chiara thought it was time to introduce Josella to the Sea Watch followers, and to thank her for her great help and for her ongoing, and fruitful collaboration with Sea Watch.
Hello! My name’s Josella, I’m a graduate from Swansea University with an MSc by Research in the space use of grey seals and a BSc in Marine Biology. I’ve always had a keen interest in marine mammals, in particular cetaceans, and it is my career aspiration to be able to work in this field. I originally heard of the Sea Watch Foundation through a talk held during my first year at university on how to perform land watches. I’ve done many of these in my free time since and I love doing them because you never know what you are going to see. For example a couple of years ago I spotted two Risso’s dolphins off Mumbles Head, Swansea!
When I returned home from university I saw a call for volunteers on the Sea Watch Facebook page, and since then I’ve got involved in many more ways. On a regular basis I transfer the sightings from the Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch website into the national Sea Watch Database and make the monthly sightings maps for the Adopt a Dolphin newsletter. I’ve also made educational posters for various locations around the UK, painted designs for the Christmas cards, and more recently I’ve made a couple of coin collectors to be taken to events, which I really enjoyed doing!
I’ve found my experiences with volunteering for the Sea Watch Foundation so far really rewarding. It has given me a way to combine my creativity with scientific education and outreach, as well as keeping up my skills with data and other software such as Geographic Information Systems. I also believe the experience I have gained from it has led to a lot of other opportunities. This week I’m heading to Bardsey Island to help with Risso’s dolphin monitoring, and I feel my responsibilities with Sea Watch really enhanced my application. If you’re thinking of wanting to help out there are so many different ways to get involved and I would definitely go for it!