Monday, 15 June 2015

MCS turtle puppets go international!

Sea Champions Tom and Claudia have been helping our Volunteer Coordinator Matt up in Scotland for a couple of years now, during which time they've become a dab hand at talking to the public about marine conservation. It's great to see them taking our trusty turtle and jellyfish activities over the water to Costa Rica. Tom tells us a bit more about what they've been up to. 

Having volunteered with MCS for a few years whilst at university, my girlfriend and I had the opportunity put these skills into practice a bit further afield. The Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse places on earth, and it was here that we were lucky enough to work as Research Assistants with the NGO Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST).

In-between tagging hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas), replanting mangroves and surveying sea grass beds, we also worked on community outreach programs around the country. Having made many turtle puppets and egg carton jellyfish with children around Scotland at various MCS events, we were well equipped to now do these activities with Costa Rican kids!

Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) visit the UK in the summer to feed on jellyfish, but then return to the Caribbean and Central America to nest. It was very exciting to know that the turtles we were teaching about in the UK were probably the same ones as in Costa Rica! This just shows the importance of international protection and education, and that what we do at home can affect animals from across the other side of the planet.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Sea Champion Andy has been "bigging-up" his beach clean!

Volunteer Andy wears two hats. By day he’s a Marks & Spencer employee and Plan A Champion and by night/weekend/any-spare-minute he’s a MCS Sea Champion. (He’s all about the championing!) Andy recently helped to organise the M&S MCS collaborative Big Beach Clean-up at his local beach in Formby and we caught up with him for the low down on how it went. Be sure to check out the photos, you won’t have any trouble spotting Andy, he’s the one dressed as a lobster!

"I've been running beach cleaning events at Formby for a number of years now, I really enjoy running beach clean events as it’s such as change from my normal day job with my Marks & Spencer.

This year I ran an event for the Big Beach Clean-up which is a partnership between my employer and MCS. It was an early start as The BBC Breakfast weather team arrived to broadcast the weather live from the beach during the beach clean. I was delighted that my event attracted over 300 volunteers which included over 100 school children and even the local area Mayor came along. 

I really enjoy running events such as beach cleans because it feels so good to be contributing to the conservation of our most precious environments. The events are great fun to run and be involved in especially when you can dress up as lobster and appear on national TV! It also feels great to promote such as valuable charity such as MCS."

Well, the Big Beach Clean-up may be done for another year but if you're getting litter picker withdrawal don't worry, the Great British Beach Clean is back this September. Keep an eye on our Beachwatch webpages for details.