Pupils enjoy Champion day out at the seaside

90 Marine Champions 

One of the South West’s leading conservation organisations is busy training the next generation of marine wildlife advocates.

90 champions for marine wildlife

The Marine Wildlife Champions Project was established by the charity Devon Wildlife Trust in 2014 and is funded by the National Marine Aquarium, with event sponsorship from South West Water. This year it is working with nine educational groups across Devon, involving 90 pupils who range from age 6 to 18.

90 ‘Marine Champions’ – 10 pupils from each participating school or educational group – met last week at a special ‘Beach Conference’ run at Devon Wildlife Trust’s Wembury Marine Centre and sponsored by South West Water. The mission for each of the champions is to inspire behaviour change within their education settings and among their peers, by educating others on how to become more ocean-friendly.

The ‘Beach Conference’ gave the students an opportunity to learn about issues including sustainable fishing, water pollution and plastic pollution through a series of workshops delivered by Devon Wildlife Trust, The Shark Trust, National Marine Aquarium and South West Water.

Outdoor interactive learning 

The emphasis of the day focused on interactive, outdoor learning, but most importantly fun and enjoyment. All the pupils thoroughly enjoyed getting their feet wet on the Rockpool safari.

Today has been a wonderful day and it gives me a huge sense of satisfaction seeing children enjoying the wonders of their local marine environment.

Without this project, many of these pupils may not have had the chance to experience a day like today and so we are extremely grateful to our partners who’ve joined us to deliver sessions and to our funders for supporting this fabulous project.”
Coral Smith
Devon Wildlife Trust, Marine Education Officer
Children learning about sharks and over-fishing from the Shark Trust

Michael Dugdale from Plymouth City College said:

“The students we work with come from quite deprived, inner-city backgrounds and sadly they don’t often get the opportunity to do a lot of the activities we did today at the Beach Conference.

The year-long Marine Champions Project has given them a chance to really engage with their local coastline and understand the challenges our marine wildlife face.”

Karen Wilcocks from National Marine Aquarium said:

“The Marine Champions Beach Conference provided us with a great opportunity to teach young people about marine wildlife and the effect plastic pollution has on our seas. We really wanted to inspire the students to do their bit to help wildlife, rather than feel overwhelmed by issues.”

The next step for Devon’s new Marine Champions will be to deliver presentations on the projects they have been working on in school throughout the year at a special event at the National Marine Aquarium in June.

Rockpooling at Wembury beach with Wembury Marine Centre

A new season of exciting marine events

Wembury Marine Centre opens to the public for its 2018 season on Friday 30 March. It’s displays feature the best of local marine wildlife along with some key messages about how we call all help our coastal wildlife. The Centre’s dedicated staff run regular rockpool safaris, to plan your visit go to www.wemburymarinecentre.org

The full list of schools taking part in the project is: Plymouth City College, Woodfield Primary School, Sparkwell All Saints Academy, Home Educators Group, ACE Multi Academy Trust Plymouth, Bishop Cornish Church of England Primary School, St Budeaux Foundation School, Princetown Primary School and High View Primary School.