Friday, 19 September 2014

No need to visit the seaside to help with our wildlife sighting programmes!

Live a long way from the coast? Or prefer to keep your feet dry? There are many ways to help us with our wildlife sightings programmes without the need to be at the beach.

We’ve received a record number of jellyfish sightings this year, with more than 1,300 by the end of August. This is an amazing number of sightings, but all of this data needs to be verified before we can upload it to our live map. Sea Champion James Price has been invaluable in helping us keep up with this rapidly growing jellyfish database. Meanwhile Sarah Briggs from Tooting has been helping us update our database on pink seafans.

It’s not all about data - Sea Champions have been giving talks to local sub aqua clubs to encourage divers to transform their dives by taking part in Seasearch surveys.

And it doesn’t stop there – Lizzie Prior created a Bioblitz survey form for key marine species found on our strandline and in our rockpools. She helped us trial the survey with hundreds of people at the Plymouth Ocean City Festival at the weekend with Sea Champions Manager Justine Millard, where they found cushion starfish, blennies, snakeslock anemone, shore crabs and lots lots more!

Get in touch with your Volunteer Coordinator, if any of this interests you. We particularly need volunteer speakers who want to encourage local communities, such as dive clubs, to get involved in our wildlife sightings programmes. If you're keen to help us spread the message, you'll receive training and support, and well as some great resources.

Sea Champion Lizzie's "rockpool ramble" at the Plymouth Ocean City Festival.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Meet our office volunteers!

Giving the gift of time at MCS HQ

Sea Champions Cassie Greenhill and Rebecca Adams alone donated around 400 hours of their time volunteering at head office through the summer! Joined by Carol Scarisbrick, Shona Palmer, Jane Meadows, Andrew Goodes, Mary-Lou Wheeler, Izzy Godden and Harriet Robins, the team provided logistical support for the Great British Beach Clean. From risk assessments, helping with promotions, to getting permissions from beach owners and sending out equipment, ahead of our biggest beach cleaning weekend yet!

Cassie and Rebecca also helped us research and contact companies to enlist their support for the Great British Beach Clean and have been an amazing help packaging up and sending out our campaign promotions to new outlets. They even went on a trip with our Pollution Policy Officer, Dr. Sue Kinsey looking for microplastics in cosmetics.

We always need help with things in the office – Mary-Lou Wheeler has been helping out with all sorts of things from putting together Seasearch packs, ensuring our Beachwatch information is up to date and accurate, plotting our priority Beachwatch beaches on Google maps and composing our first report on endangered species to help us with our 30 Threatened Species appeal. Anna Starley has been an incredible help sorting out our image database, whilst Cassie and Rebecca have also been researching events for Sea Champions to attend including Dorset Seafood Festival and Bournemouth Blue Mile.

It doesn’t stop there - several Sea Champions have also been user testing our new website and Natasha Riches gave six weeks of full time support to the fundraising team with lead generating.

If you’d like to help in our office, sign up to the Sea Champions forum for the latest volunteer opportunities.

Sea Champions Carol, Rebecca and Lizzie hard at work at MCS HQ

Monday, 8 September 2014

MCS supporter awarded title of Miss Earth Devon!

Twenty-four year old beauty queen from Torquay, Susana Barnard to compete in Miss Earth UK Grand Finals this month.

The Miss Earth pageant sees young women from all over the world compete to be titled ‘Miss Earth’ in order to become an ambassador and be able to campaign for environmental protection and conservation across the globe.

Susana will be representing Devon and will be competing against young women from all over the UK in order to be titled Miss Earth England, in Birmingham on 21st September.

In the meantime, she'll be using her new found fame to raise awareness of the state of our seas and is raising funds to help us protect them. Susana will be completing her first ever SCUBA dive, whilst collecting litter from beneath the waves.

"I am urging people to just take more care and notice of the sea. Don’t neglect it. Protect it. Keep it clean. The sea is home to millions and millions of creatures, some of which we eat. It is arguable that we could possibly be eating contaminated fish because they could be feeding from contaminated plankton and of course only because we contaminate their habitat” says Susana.

You can follow Susana’s journey by liking her Facebook page ‘Miss Earth Devon 2014’, or by sponsoring her underwater challenge.

Susana Barnard, photographed at Meadfoot Beach by John English of The Owl and The Pussycat Photography.
Susana Barnard, photographed at Meadfoot Beach by John English of The Owl and The Pussycat Photography.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Summer Blues? We certainly got them!

The Ecover Blue Mile went back to its roots this summer! From Aberystwyth to Broadhaven, Kintyre to Queenford, schools, groups, companies and individuals took part in Go Blue! 

Go Blue! was all part of the wider Ecover Blue Mile which encouraged people to do whatever they could, for as long as they could for our fabulous marine environment ...whether they were on it, over it, under it or near it – the sea was the focus for people going blue!

Sea Champion Shell Duddy, from Norfolk, took to the water in her local pool raising £105 to save our seas: "The swim went really well, I really enjoyed it. I managed to swim 74 lengths of a 25m pool." That’s over a mile in less than an hour!

Sea Champion Shell Duddy swimming a mile in less than an hour to raise funds to save our seas

Summer is not over yet! Why not try your hand at stand up paddle boarding or kayaking in the upcoming Ecover Blue Mile events in Plymouth, 13th – 14th September?

Or why not organise an Ecover Blue Mile event of you own? Check out some of these fab achievements:

Laura Truelove from Aberystwyth University Surf Club raised £70 at their
Stand-up Paddleboard event.
Donna Martin walked the Kintyre coastline raising £40

Chapel Haddlesey Primary School, Yorkshire took part in a one mile walk around the grounds dressed in blue and raised £30 
BBC Springwatch presenter Maya Plass led a dive to clear away rubbish in the sea and on the beach at Babbacombe in Torquay.