We would like to welcome a new recruit to the Sea Watch team, Sarah Neill, who has recently been appointed as Sea Watch Regional Coordinator for Cumbria!
My name is Sarah and I am a marine biologist and SSI certified diver. The ocean and its wonders have been my calling since I was a child, despite growing up in Coventry, far from the sea! I studied Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology at Plymouth University, which eventually brought me to Cumbria 11 years ago.
I currently work as a Lecturer at Kendal College, where I teach Animal Management courses up to degree level. We are unique in being the first college in the country to run a genuine on-site wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre, which gives our students valuable training and insight into real life rehabilitation work. This is something I am passionate about, so much so that I cowrote a degree course validated by the University of Cumbria in British Animal Management and Wildlife Rehabilitation!
My journey into wildlife rehab began when I was tasked with rearing 2 orphaned otter cubs for the International Otter Survival Fund in 2012, since then I have reared many otters and am now a board member of the IOSF. I continued to gain further experience in the rescue of seals, cetaceans and turtles through my role as Cumbria Coordinator with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue. I also enjoy training people in these skills and was delighted to be sent to Gibraltar on behalf of BDMLR to train environmental protection officers in cetacean rescue for the HM Government of Gibraltar’s Department of Environment, Heritage and Climate Change.
I love volunteering and expanding my knowledge across the field – I’ve completed marine mammal surveyor training with various organisations, volunteered with my local Wildlife Trusts and have also gotten students involved in campaigning for plastic free coastlines with Surfers Against Sewage. I’ve travelled across the world to see marine conservation projects in action, including efforts to conserve the Chinese white dolphin in Hong Kong to marine conservation in the Seychelles. In 2021 I will be travelling to the High Arctic with Sedna Epic Expeditions to research orca health, carry out genetic, acoustic and photographic identification of orcas and humpback whales and to document ocean change.
To be offered the role of Regional Coordinator with the Sea Watch Foundation not only makes me very happy, but is another great opportunity to combine my skills, I hope to inspire people to get involved in sea-watching and excited about our local marine life. I am already looking forward to the National Whale and Dolphin watch in the summer, hope to see you there!
To contact Sarah visit this page