Our seas are teeming with an exciting array of wildlife, enough to enthuse any little oceanographer. National Marine Week celebrates the huge diversity of marine animals and plants, and invites everyone to get involved learning about and protecting them. National Marine Week takes place from 28 July - 12 August this year.
Modern fishing methods have caused irrevocable changes to marine life, along with pollution, litter, tourism and coastal development. There are many ways you can make a difference and one of the first places to start is to find out more about who needs your help!
Rockpooling is a wonderful way to find out more about what’s living on the seashore. Low water happens twice a day, and you can find out times by looking at tide tables and asking locally. Sheltered shorelines contain a different mix of ‘inhabitants’ to exposed beaches, and your local wildlife trust should be able to provide you with plenty of information on the animals and plants you can expect to see. A cross-section of likely finds will probably include anemones, prawns, sea squirts, hermit crabs, brittle starfish and fish such as blennies. A net, bucket and margarine tubs for a closer look at your finds will be useful.
Organised by the Wildlife Trust, National Marine Week encourages you to don your wellies and get out exploring the seashore. Find out more about creatures as thrilling as basking sharks, grey seals, puffins and dolphins. See below for just some of the events taking place across the country, or you could organise your own rock-pooling excursion, snorkelling trip, swimming adventure or an afternoon’s litter picking to help keep our beautiful coast clean.
30th July – Cuckmere pirate adventure, Sussex Wildlife Trust
What more exciting way to get in touch with watery worlds than by becoming a pirate for the day?! Dress up as a swash buckling pirate, join a pirate gang and learn how to build a raft as part of a team and sail it across the Cuckmere River to ‘Cuckmere Island’ where a challenge awaits you. This day is suitable for 8-11 yr olds and children do not need to be accompanied by an adult. Please take along a packed lunch and drink and wear suitable outdoor clothing/footwear for weather conditions.
30th July – 12th August – Sealife Search , Essex Wildlife Trusts
At Hannington Resevoir, Essex, there’ll be a chance to enjoy a self-guided trail to celebrate Marine Fortnight. With a marine theme, there’ll be lots to entertain and educate the family. Head to the visitor centre where you’ll be given information. Normal entry donation.
3rd August, Say it with Sand , Norfolk Wildlife Trust
Get stuck in making wonderful sand sculptures on West Runton beach, Norfolk. There’ll be a chance to scavenge on the strandline for natural materials to decorate your sculpture. Enter your pictures to the ‘Say it with Sand’ competition and one lucky family will win membership for a year. This is a chance to engage with the natural landscape and show how much you care about our beaches.
7th August – Mud Magic , Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Get yourself down to Spurn Point Nature Reserve for a free afternoon of messy mud! Find out why Humber mud is so important to the wildlife living in the area. Make sure you wear your wellies!
9th August – Marine Wonders , Hampshire and IoW Wildlife Trusts
Head to Lepe Country Park on the beautiful New Forest coast to discover the wonderful world beneath the waves. With rock pool rambles and loads of activities for children, there will be plenty to keep the whole family busy at this free event as you discover the marine world on your doorstep.