A Huge THANK YOU to our Outreach and Research Volunteers!

 Smiles all round! Danny on board  Silurian  with relief first mate Charlie.

Smiles all round! Danny on board Silurian with relief first mate Charlie.

Today marks the end of the six-month summer placement for our Outreach and Research volunteers, and what a summer it’s been! The dedicated team worked across our projects, developing their skills and learning first-hand the work we carry out here in the heart of the Hebrides, conserving Scotland’s marine wildlife.

Engaging with locals and visitors alike in our Discovery Centre, the volunteers shared their passion and knowledge, informing hundreds of people about the species found in Hebridean waters and inspiring people to value our marine environment. Each week, the volunteers supported Sea Life Surveys, who we have worked with as data partners for nearly 25 years, joining them on board their vessels to spot wildlife and enrich their guests experiences. This provided the volunteers with fantastic boat-based experience, and encounters with the wildlife they were helping to conserve.

Seeing a thresher shark breaching on a Sea Life Surveys cruise was a highlight of my time at HWDT. I was also privileged to see close up a large pod of pilot whales from Silurian - a very rare and special moment I will treasure forever.
— Chris Page
 Sophie leading a headland watch at Glengorm.

Sophie leading a headland watch at Glengorm.

Over the summer, the volunteers have helped foster partnerships with Duart Castle and Glengorm Castle, leading headland watches from the grounds to help members of the public spot whales and dolphins with the comfort of dry feet. In September we were delighted to announce that due to the success of joint events like these, Glengorm Castle are now one of our corporate partners.

A highlight of the placement for all the volunteers, was joining our research vessel Silurian as the fourth crew member, helping to support the day-to-day running of the boat and the vital survey work we do. As a result they were able to increase their at-sea research experience, whilst directly contributing to the largest database of its kind for UK waters, providing crucial evidence to support marine conservation efforts in Scottish waters.

I have had an array of incredible experiences which will stick with me forever. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather have been than right here with fantastic people and amazing wildlife. If I had to pick a singular best moment it would have to be being surrounded by white-beaked dolphins whilst on Silurian.
— Alex Wilkins
 Alex and our Silurian volunteers enjoying an evening ashore during a survey.

Alex and our Silurian volunteers enjoying an evening ashore during a survey.

My time at HWDT was a very rewarding experience and I would like to thank my manager Pauline in particular for encouraging me to get involved with many different projects. A massive thank you to the entire team for sharing their talents and enthusiasm so freely and for making my time so enjoyable.
— Alexa Roditi
This placement has been perfect, the diversity of roles has helped make it so enjoyable and rounded. Some of the highlights include engaging with different kinds of people of all ages, supporting local wildlife trips and events, and also a remarkable experience sailing on-board Silurian. Being part of the team, supporting the data collection and raising awareness among local communities has enabled me to develop skills and confidence to take the next step and pursue a conservation career.
— Danny Miranda
I have had some incredible experiences with HWDT. Whilst on board Silurian I had an unforgettable sighting of a pod of killer whales which was a particular highlight! The experiences I have had here are something I will always remember, and the skills I have learnt are something I will take forward into the start of my career in marine conservation.
— Sophie Crouch
 Chris showing visitors from Charity Bank around our Discovery Centre.

Chris showing visitors from Charity Bank around our Discovery Centre.

We’d like to thank Sophie, Danny, Alex, Alexa and Chris for all their help and wish them the very best of luck for the future!

If you’re interested in joining us as a land-based volunteer, we will be advertising for our 2019 placements over the winter, so keep your eyes peeled on our social media pages and vacancies page!

Lauren Macmillan