2017 saw young people taking part in volunteer projects right across Scotland. Primary schools used their pupil power, with Ullapool Primary and Sunnyside Primary in Glasgow joining forces as part of the #NaeStrawAtAw campaign, while Cramond Primary in Edinburgh leant their support to the Have you Got the Bottle campaign and landed themselves on the shortlist for an RSPB Nature of Scotland Award! Meanwhile, young Puffineers involved in the RSPB’s Project Puffin, helped to analyse the 1400 photos of puffins that were sent in, to help identity what puffins feed their chicks and where they breed in the UK and Ireland. Similarly, teens took part in HWDT marine mammal survey expeditions to gather vital information to help inform Scotland’s developing MPA network.
What does 2018 have in store?
2018 promises to be no different, with Scotland’s young people poised to take the lead in projects to discover and help look after our seas left, right and centre. Read on to find out about the exciting opportunities in store.
Have a whale of a time
- Visit the Scottish Dolphin Centre in Spey Bay, Moray for a chance to see the amazing bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth and to learn more about the work of Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Follow the WDC Dolphin Centre Facebook Page to keep up to date with the latest events and volunteer opportunities, and plan your visit here.
- WDC recruit residential volunteers each year to join the Scottish Dolphin Centre for 8 months. These volunteers gain valuable experience in running tours for visitors, delivering education activities for children, helping with events, and in supporting Shorewatch volunteers. Recruitment usually starts in November for the following year but keep an eye on our website for opportunities: whales.org/jobs
- Become a Shorewatch volunteer! WDC Shorewatch volunteers collect vital whale and dolphin data at selected land based sites around the Scottish coastline. After a one day training course, you can become part of a fantastic network of like-minded volunteers who care about our marine environment. Find out more: whales.org/shorewatch
Mad about marine mammals?
- Visit the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Discovery centre on the Isle of Mull to dive into the wonderful world of whales dolphins and porpoises.
- Take part in a headland watch, head along to a science talk or take part in a training scheme. Keep up to date with exciting events like these here.
- Set sail aboard the Silurian and kick start that marine conservation career by taking part in a teen team survey or youth trip surveys. You can find out more about volunteer opportunities with HWDT here.
- Education: Find out more about Hebridean Marine Explorer Programme for primary schools, including school visits, field trips and floating classroom workshops.
- Get appy with HWDT’s Whale Track. Report your sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises to help uncover the movements of coastal species such as bottlenose dolphins and uncover the mysteries of rare visitors including humpback and killer whales.
Champion the seas and dive into the deep!
- Become a Sea Champion with the Marine Conservation Society nationwide volunteer programme. You can get involved as much as you like and take part in a variety of ways depending on what appeals to you. That could be organising hands-on beach cleans or participating in national campaigns, giving talks, attending local events, raising funds or promoting sustainable seafood choices in your local community. However you choose to help there are plenty of opportunities to suit everyone!
- Looking to dive in deeper? Why not take part in Seasearch, a project for volunteer sports divers who have an interest in what they’re seeing under water, want to learn more and want to help protect the marine environment around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.
Take the seas by storm
- Want to take action to help Scotland’s birdlife? Why not take a look at the latest opportunities to volunteer with the RSPB in your home, local community, at a nature reserve or in your nearest RSPB office.
- If you live in Shetland, why not join the Shetland RSPB Young Volunteers? The group get involved with all sorts of conservation and engagement activities in Shetland. Last year, this amazing group of young volunteers were finalists in the environmental category for a Nature of Scotland Award!
- Volunteers are a vital part of the Dunna Chuck Bruck, Shetland’s overarching environmental awareness initiative and Da Voar Redd Up – the UK’s largets community led Spring Clean! If you live in or happen to be visiting Shetland this year, why not contact the Shetland Amenity Trust to see how you can get involved.
- While you’re there, keep an eye out for the Shetland and Orkney Nature Festivals, last year these involved beach cleans, nurdle hunts, snorkel tours and worm charming!
- Over on the Isle of Skye, primary pupils are taking part in Marine Magic Days – an exciting day filled with information about the local coastline run in partnership with HWDT, MCS and RSPB – contact local RSPB staff for more information.
- Take part in the RSPB Youth Jam! This one day workshop is an opportunity for Scotland’s young people to share your thoughts, ideas and solutions on nature’s futures, and to help to make a difference to it. If you are aged 16-25, why not join the Jam on 3rd March in Edinburgh. Whether you have an interest in the arts and music, science or technology, are an outdoor enthusiast or keen explorer.
- Pick up a paddle and head to the seas on an outdoor adventure with the National Trust for Scotland. While you’re there, why not discover spellbinding beaches and some of the iconic coastal landmarks they look after. Contact your local ranger for more information on events taking place in your area.
- The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) runs the Wild about Scotland travelling bus programme that offers wildlife sessions to children all over Scotland. This includes a look at Scotland’s marine habitats, and conservation projects that students can get involved in.
- The bus has visited over 500 schools so far – wow! Take a look at this map to see if it has been to your local area yet.
- Why not discover the amazing marine life around the coast with the Scottish Wildlife Trust Snorkel Trail.
- Want to discover more of Scotland’s coastline? Why not visit one an SWT Reserve or Visitor Centre.
- Want to find out more about local wildlife? Why not take part in a Wildlife Watch!
We’re always interested to know what is going on locally, if you know of another project or event contact us!