Shorewatch volunteers wanted in Western Isles

Shorewatch invites the public to get involved in their surroundings and keep an eye out for passing marine visitors.

Shorewatch invites the public to get involved in their surroundings and keep an eye out for passing marine visitors.

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WHALE and Dolphin Conservation’s Scottish Dolphin Centre is delighted to announce that it will receive funding from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) for a three year marine education and research programme that will allow WDC’s conservation team work with communities across north Scotland to help protect whales and dolphins.

Volunteers can join WDC’s Shorewatch programme to monitor whale and dolphin populations, and WDC will lead outdoor activities with school children of all ages, and attend family events to raise awareness.

Based at the Scottish Dolphin Centre in Spey Bay, WDC education and conservation officers will work with local people across Moray, Aberdeenshire and City, Inverness, Caithness and the Western Isles.

The project aims to raise awareness of the marine environment and provide volunteering opportunities for anyone who wants to help with activities like beach cleans, data gathering or schools outreach.

Ewen Cameron, SNH’s operations manager in Aberdeen, said: “Like everyone else, SNH has to cope with reduced budgets and it is a tribute to the great work WDC do that we can justify this continued funding.

“We particularly like the wide range of people they work with and the fact that they encourage everyone to take part in recording schemes like Shorewatch. You don’t need to be an expert, your contribution does make a difference – and it’s great fun!”

And Kila Taylor, Scottish conservation officer, added: “We are so pleased to receive a grant from SNH as it will enable us to make some real progress to protect Scottish whales and dolphins.

“Look out for us at your school or community event, or volunteer with Shorewatch to help these amazing animals.”

WDC Shorewatch relies on community volunteers to monitor the presence of whales, dolphins and porpoises around Scotland.

WDC asks for trained volunteers to carry out regular 10 minute watches at specific sites to help learn more about how these amazing whales and dolphins use our coastline, information which will help towards ensuring their protection.

WDC’s education team also leads fun outdoor activities with schools and youth groups at the Scottish Dolphin Centre and visits schools to teach pupils about Scotland’s amazing dolphins and the threats they face.

For more information on how to get involved, call 01343 820399.