As a passionate marine biologist dedicated to pursuing a career in marine conservation, I’m thrilled to be spending the coming Summer months volunteering as a Marine Awareness Assistant here at Wembury Marine Centre. I have just completed the final year of a degree in Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth, and starting in September will continue my studies at the University with a Masters Degree in Marine Conservation. Having learnt so much about our incredible local marine life already, I’m eager to spend my summer break outside of the classroom and out on beautiful Wembury Beach!
I strongly believe that marine environments must be conserved in view of the ecosystem services, economic value and wealth of knowledge that they provide. As an experienced SCUBA diver who has had the privilege of encountering spectacular wildlife amidst breath-taking underwater landscapes, I would also argue that the beauty and intrigue offered by our seas is reason enough to protect them. Prior to starting University, I spent a considerable amount of time exploring the underwater world, in both the UK and overseas, allowing me to cultivate a profound connection to the ocean and its inhabitants. From the curious turtles of the Seychelles to the cheeky grey seals of the Farne Islands, I’ve had many a memorable encounter whilst under the waves. Yet, spending so much time in the ocean has also impressed upon me the devastation reaped within these fragile ecosystems by human activity. As a result, I have been driven to make radical changes to my lifestyle, finding opportunities to reduce my own negative impact upon the natural world. Furthermore, I feel impassioned to pursue a career path which will enable me to help safeguard the marine environment from continued degradation. Accordingly, working voluntarily with Wembury Marine Centre and the Devon Wildlife Trust is a fantastic opportunity for me to gain experience working within the conservation sector whilst putting into practice some of the knowledge and practical skills which I have gained from my studies.
During my first few weeks at the Centre, I have endeavoured to instil my own enthusiasm for marine life within visitors to the centre and during school visits. Working with primary school children has proved to be incredibly rewarding so far, with their excitement for finding critters whilst rock pooling renewing my own enthusiasm for coming across even the most commonplace of rocky shore species. To successfully secure the long-term survival of our seas, future generations must understand the importance of ocean stewardship. Moreover, to effect positive change on a global scale, we must start by setting a positive example to the rest of the world by protecting and cherishing marine habitats here in the UK. Therefore, it is my view that the community outreach and education of young audiences carried out here at Wembury Marine Centre plays a fundamental role in the continued safeguarding of marine environments, and I am incredibly proud to be contributing to such critical work.