Wet, wild and wonderful

We often forget that our green and pleasant land is actually an island and surrounded by wonderful seas, which need caring for and conserving as much (if not more) than terra firma.

To celebrate all things marine The Wildlife Trusts organise National Marine Week which to take into account tide times around the country actually runs for 15 fun-filled days from 27 July to 11 August.   The various county Wildlife Trusts are putting on events and activities some of them are inland as well!  You can go on a rockpool ramble, take a boat cruise for some wildlife watching, go on a snorkel safari, learn to identify dolphin and whales and so much more….

Dive in
If you decide to discover fascinating fossils (Norfolk Wildlife Trust) look out  ammonite hildoceras, named after St Hilda who built her abbey on the cliffs above of the town of the white (meaning pure probably), now called Whitby and just down the hill from us.  It's said that, like St Patrick, she cast out all the snakes that swarmed over her chosen abbey site turning them to stone as they tumbled over the high cliffs, their petrified heads breaking off as they hit the solid wave cut stone platform below, although there a few examples in Whitby of the snakes still with their heads!
And learn a thing or two
As part of Marine Week The Wildlife Trusts are launching a new version of their Shoresearch citizen science project with the aim of collecting data to help experts monitor our fragile sea life and better understand the effects of pollution, climate change and invasive alien species.  By standardising the collection methodology species records can be compared and change can be monitored.  Anyone can get involved by attending a free Shoresearch event where they will be trained to identify and record intertidal plants and animals and their habitats.  Find out more at www.wildlifetrusts.org/shoresearch.

Three things
Whether you're visiting the coast, live by the sea or inland there are lots of things you do to reduce the impact of our everyday lives.  The Trusts are recommending three simple Actions you can take:

  • Pick up litter: I know it's so simple, everyone can do it wherever they are, the more that's binned properly the less likely it is to affect our wildlife or end up in the sea.  For more coast related specific direct action there are often regular beach cleans run by the Trusts and others.
  • Use less plastic: not always easy and annoyingly frequently more expensive than plastic free options, but the less we use, the less there is to deal with later on.
  • Watch what you wash: this one's not so obvious but some cosmetics, soaps, washing-up liquids and cleaning products can be harmful to wildlife with long-lasting effects.

Check the tides!
If you miss one of the organised events (or find they're already fully booked) and decide to strike out on your own please remember to check the tide times.  We don't want you to have to call out the magnificent RNLI to rescue rock poolers so engrossed in their crab and anemone discoveries that suddenly the water is lapping round their ankles and the slipway off the beach is round the headland which is now being battered by waves. (Can you tell we live in a seaside resort?)
The Met Office produce specialist forecasts including tide times for most of our beaches, simply type in where you're going and the clever site suggests which beach and then presents you with the weather predictions and those all important high and low tide times.

Help with research
If you've enjoyed your time on the beach and want to do more for our coast and seas there are surveys (like Shoresearch and Seawatch's dolphin and whale watches) going on all year round, see those currently needing your records and assistance here: https://www.countryside-jobs.com/workdays/surveys/fish
Or perhaps you've been inspired (or horrified) and are thinking of something more permanent then start here: https://www.countryside-jobs.com/marine-coastal to see what resources are available to help your oceanographic career aspirations.

Other useful resources:
Dive in to Scotland’s Living Seas! Scottish Wildlife Trust'ssnorkel trails.
Explore Marine Protected areas around Scotland with the Scotland's Living Seas interactive map.