RSPB Marine Education Days on Skye
More than 300 primary school pupils from Skye and Lochalsh are expected to take part in two special Marine Education Days being hosted at the Aros Centre in Portree on the 12th and 13th March. The education days are being run by a partnership led by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Highland Council Countryside Rangers. The events are also being supported by West Highland College, the Marine Conservation Society, and the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, and the Scottish Association for Marine Science, along with other specialists brought in for their expertise.
Dr Alison MacLennan, the RSPB’s conservation officer for Skye said, “Most of us live close to the sea, yet few of us know much about it. Skye and Lochalsh has a long and varied coastline, ranging from sheltered sea lochs to exposed rocky shores, but few of us venture further than the depth of our wellies to see what is lurking beneath the waves and fewer still appreciate the importance of the vast bodies of water that make up our oceans beyond. We probably recognise food species such as crab and prawn, and the huge basking sharks that skulk past our coastline each year, but most of the estimated 8,000 species that live in Scotland’s seas remain a mystery to us”.
“The Marine Education Days will enable each pupil to take part in four out of eight workshops run throughout each day, covering a variety of topics. I’m sure they will have a great time and learn a lot about the amazing environment they live so close to.”
The workshops will include: marine mammals; white-tailed sea eagles, seabirds and the science used to study them; the effects of pollution; how we use the sea; traditional fishing skills; and how our seas influence our climate as well as how they have inspired art, stories and song. Through attending this event, pupils will gain an insight into this marine ecosystem, and its effects on us as well as our impacts upon it.
Highland Council Countryside Ranger, Jenny Grant said, “This is such a rare opportunity for so many marine specialists to be available locally for pupils in Skye and Lochalsh. We’re really looking forward to exploring what lies beneath the surface with the children.”
In addition to the partners’ contribution to this event, the Marine Education Days are funded by the RSPB SEEVIEWS Project (HLF and the Highland LEADER 2007-13 Programme), Sea-Changers, Skye & Lochalsh Environment Forum and the Aros Centre.