All over the world conservation organisations attempt to create sanctuaries for animals, protect vulnerable ecosystems and conduct research on the animals and communities living in them. Many of these conservation organisations are charities and would not be able to make an impact without the help from the trusted volunteer! Sea Watch Foundation is no exception and is dependent on an army of support.
Since the very beginning of the registered charity in 1991 (and previously as the Mammal Society’s Cetacean Group for eighteen years beforehand) Sea Watch Foundation set out to monitor whales and dolphins all around the UK. Due to the fact, that our budget is stretched (as with many charities) we could not continue our research without our dedicated volunteers and the public. For students this is a unique opportunity to get involved in a specific field. During their work students socialise and get to know scientists and long-term members of the organisations.
Volunteers help us with our local projects, such as the Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project, but also all around the UK as home-based volunteers. During their volunteering they support us in the field by collecting data from land, boat and even aerial surveys and also back in the office with photo-ID among other things. Together with the sightings from the public this offers us a great amount of data about the vast array of cetacean species in British and Irish waters.
Volunteers conducting a land watch on the Training Day September 2016. Photo credits: Sarah Maguire
Raising public awareness and education is another important part of the role and responsibilities of the volunteers. From painting kids faces to talking to the public helps us get in touch with any new potential sightings and beside this it is a lot of fun. With a number of games including acoustic games, children (and not forgetting adults!) get to know essential basics about the British cetaceans. The more the public gets involved within our projects the more they will support us to create safe habitats for these fascinating animals.
Fatima Sahra showing visitors a pod dolphins off New Quay Harbour. Photo credits: Sarah Maguire
We are very thankful for all the help, time and effort people around the UK are dedicating to help keep the Sea Watch Foundation afloat, we could not do it without you!
If you want to get involved with volunteering for Sea Watch Foundation there are a number of ways you can go about joining us.
For more information about the different roles please have a look at: http://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/home-based-volunteering/
Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Fatima Sahra, Intern 2016 visiting from Vienna.