Friday, 7 April 2017

Welcome Tara!

It’s all change in the Sea Champions Team for 2017. We said a sad farewell to Matt Barnes and Ed Santry who did fantastic things for the programme in the 5 years they were here and we are very excited to welcome two new Volunteer Managers. Kate Whitton will be looking after our Sea Champions in South East England and Tara Proud who is based up in Scotland. A HUGE welcome to both of them!

Tara has had a busy first couple of weeks getting to grips with all things Sea Championy and even managed to fit in a trip to the Isle of Skye to run some education workshops. Here she tells us a little bit about herself and how she got on:

“Hello! My name is Tara and I’ve just started at MCS as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Manager in Scotland. I am really pleased to be joining the team at MCS. For the last 5-years I have been working for RSPB in a variety of conservation roles; from developing and managing an international conservation programme for migratory birds to being a scientist on a 3-month expedition to the UK overseas territory Henderson Island in the south Pacific. In my free time I am a voluntary trainer for Capturing our Coast and I also volunteer with British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) and the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS). I have two Biology degrees (a BSc from Bristol Uni and an MSc from Oxford Uni) and I started out my conservation career working for the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. For the last 18 months I’ve been living on the Isle of Skye and exploring the amazing coastlines of the Hebrides.

This is my first week at MCS and I have been working with Conservation Officer Catherine Gemmell to teach school children on the Isle of Skye about the incredible marine species they have on their doorsteps and how they can help us to protect them. The event was part of the Marine Magic Day which is a joint event run by the RSPB, Marine Conservation Society and the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.

A hundred excited children transformed the school hall into a bustling seabird colony with their voices. I closed my eyes and I could *almost* convince myself it was a sunny June day and I was on a clifftop with Kittiwakes wheeling around overhead catching up on the gossip with their loud 'kittiwaaaake' calls.

The kids were super engaged and keen to take action to help. Stuart the life-sized model leatherback turtle was very popular and really brought to life our messages about why we all need to use less plastic to help the marine environment.

It's been a fantastic first week with Marine Conservation Society and I am looking forward to the next one!”