Sea Watch will be working with schools in Scotland this summer and strengthening its sightings network along the North West coast of England – thanks to a link up with the Vodafone World of Difference Programme.
Chiara Guidi from Bothwell, South Lanarkshire and Katrin Lohrengel from Birkenhead Merseyside were amongst 500 successful candidates to gain two months paid full time or four month paid part time employment under the Vodafone World of Difference Programme with a charity of their choice.
Chiara, 26, who has an MSc in Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology, worked as un-unpaid volunteer on Sea Watch’s educational programmes in Wales last year, successfully piloting a presentation introducing cetacean conservation to young children.
This year she will be able to adapt and develop the presentation to take it into schools or youth groups in Scotland, offering field work session for the older children. Her work will help build lasting links between Scottish educational organisations and Sea Watch observers.
Chiara said: “Scotland is one of the best places in the world to see whales, dolphins and porpoises, yet many people still do not realise the rich diversity of species there is off the UK coast. We are already seeing some changes in behaviours and species visiting our shores due to warming waters and it is vital that we have a strong sightings network to help identify any trends. By working with schools we hope we will be inspiring the next generation of conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts to protect this very special environment.”
Any school or education organisation interested in Chiara’s presentation and field work can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Katrin, 28, who has an MSc in Animal Behaviour, it is an opportunity to continue to build on a network of observers she created for Sea Watch last year.
She will be training and recruiting volunteers, giving local university students the chance to develop their skill sets in marine mammal surveying, and liaising with other organisations and local businesses to raise awareness of Sea Watch and expand the sightings network.
This year National Whale and Dolphin Watch, hosted by Sea Watch, is being held on July 27/28th and throughout the following week, and Katrin is hoping for better weather to enable more sightings to be made throughout the spring and summer months.
Katrin says : This is a wonderful opportunity to continue raising awareness locally of the porpoises, dolphins, and occasional whales that can be seen from the north-west coast – an area where sightings data has been lacking in the past. The work that I and others can do in trying to record the creatures that are being seen, and to match them with others spotted elsewhere in Wales or off Scotland, is vital to understanding national distribution and any shifts in behaviours.”