Go Dive SCUBA Store in Derby were able to raise awareness of marine conservation issues with nearly 500 school children and over 100 members of the public last week thanks to a grant from Sea-Changers to raise awareness of marine conservation issues and to inspire the next generation of divers, policy makers and public to make a difference.
Derbyshire can lay claim to being the county with the place furthest from coastal waters anywhere in the United Kingdom. This can mean limited opportunities for the public, and especially school children, to experience, appreciate and enjoy the wonders of the sea. The team at Go Dive recognise that at a time when our oceans are in trouble from overfishing, pollution, lack of protection and climate change there is a unique opportunity to harness our love for the sea and inspire the people of land locked Derbyshire to act to make a change.
James Parsons, owner and shop manager, said ‘The funding from Sea-Changers has given us a fantastic opportunity to bring our love of the sea to the public in Derbyshire’. The funding from Sea-Changers allowed Go Dive to work with two local schools, Bemrose Primary and Holbrook Church of England Primary, to provide school workshops through the Marine Wildlife Roadshow and to hold a public open day.
The school workshops addressed issues including plastic pollution and recycling and children even had the opportunity to meet an 8m long Minke whale. Jason Pass, Head of Primary at Bemrose, said ‘The children, from the youngest in Reception to the oldest in Year 6, all really enjoyed the workshops. They learned lots about the effects of pollution and about marine animals. They really enjoyed the fun activities and especially liked the Whale Workshop’s amazing inflatable creatures.’
The workshops at Holbrook Church of England Primary coincided with World Book Day and to mark this the school chose to focus on the book Storm Whale by Benji Davis and rename the day World Whale Book Day. All children came dressed up in sea-themed costumes and it was fantastic to see jelly fish, sharks and even mini divers in the audience. The public open day on Saturday 7th March was very well attended and featured life size marine mammal models, activities that looked at marine plastic issues, art activities led by Roz Hamer Art and a stand showcasing the PADI Project AWARE flagship citizen-science program, Dive Against Debris.
The programme empowers scuba divers to remove marine debris from the ocean and report data on the types, quantities and locations of material collected. The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) Midlands branch had a stand with their team on hand to raise awareness of their work. The Midlands branch provide an important network that are able to connect different areas of the country to enable wildlife transfer and mobilise quickly to provide additional support to all coastal areas.
In addition, Sally Evans from MSDS Marine was on hand to provide her knowledge of marine mammal bones found on archaeological sites to the public with training in how to identify bones found on the beach. On Sunday 8th March Go Dive were delighted to let BDMLR use our training facilities free of charge and hosted the first ever midlands based marine medic training course. Hazel Waddingham-Lewis, Area Coordinator for the Midlands, said ‘British Divers Marine Life Rescue – Midlands would like to thank Go Dive for their incredible support and free use of facilities over the weekend.
This has enabled us to showcase some of the work carried out by over 3,500 volunteer Marine Mammal Medics throughout the UK, including the Midlands volunteer medics who relay rescued seal pups to rehabilitation centres in Cheshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire for vital treatment. The Marine Mammal Medic course held on Sunday saw another twenty-three medics qualify from all over the UK, including Scotland, Wales and South West England.
As a registered charity we rely solely on donations, therefore none of this would have been possible without the support from Go Dive, their staff, the new volunteer medics and the volunteer instructors from the Midlands and Yorkshire, who gave up their time to instruct’. Go Dive hope to continue the work to raise awareness of the marine environment and marine conservation challenges with the public, as well as maintain and develop the ways in which was are able to support British Divers Marine Life Rescue.