WDC Shorewatch Youth Programme

£4,981 awarded

Shorewatch is the Whale & Dolphin Conservation’s (WDC’s) flagship citizen science project which has been successfully collecting & collating data on the 21 species of whales & dolphins which call Scotland home over the last 15 years.  With around 200 active volunteers, working out of 28 sites, the data collected is used to inform marine management policies to protect whales, dolphins & porpoises & their critical habitats from common human threats including inconsiderate marine development, accidental entanglement in fishing gear, pollution (noise & plastic) & disturbance by uninformed members of the public.  Although successfully providing a very cost-effective means of collecting year-round data, recent research has highlighted gaps in the Shorewatch programme, both geographically but also demographically.  This new youth volunteering programme aims to resolve both these issues together by offering young people, especially those from disadvantaged areas, subsidised opportunities to participate, learn new skills, build a deeper engagement with the natural world on their doorstep & improve their well-being over-all.  This grant is towards running a proof-of-concept programme in 2022.