Volunteering with HWDT - meet Maja, Outreach and Research volunteer 2019
Every summer HWDT’s programmes and activities are supported by dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers. Without their contributions we simply couldn’t undertake as much as we do.
One of our 2019 volunteers, Maja , has joined the Trust to gain experience and skills which will help further her career in marine biology. Below, Maja explains why she wanted to devote her time to support HWDT…
It is my pleasure and honour to call myself a team member of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. This seasonal volunteering position is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a highly valuable experience in my career as a marine biologist.
I have recently graduated in Marine & Freshwater Biology at Edinburgh Napier University (and I am proud to announce I have graduate with First Class Honours!). Having been finished with my undergrad education and being offered this position, I took my chance to leave the city life for good. My husband and I have decided to leave Edinburgh and make a new living on the Isle of Mull – the ultimate wildlife heaven.
Working for the trust is continuing to provide me with unique and essential skills, such as wildlife spotting and identification. I am particularly proud of gaining more confidence in speaking to wider audience about the research the trust conducts, the wildlife and conservation. I believe it is crucial to share scientific information with the general public to achieve large-scale change in wildlife perception and, ultimately, conservation. HWDT’s commitment to educate and work with local communities is what has drawn me to this position. Each day I am striving for inspiring others to care for our Hebridean cetaceans. I do believe changing people’s perception of their local wildlife is a beginning of caring for a common cause and, consequently, making a big change in conservation.
Having just come back from my first trip on Silurian (our sailing research vessel), I feel more confident and motivated than ever before. Experiencing the survey first-hand gave me a solid background in better understanding of how the data is collected and the importance of this long-term project. We have travelled from Tobermory north around Isle of Skye, back down to Coll and further south to Islay. We have covered impressive 425.9 nautical miles in twelve days. We were blessed with sunny weather, sightings of minke whales, common dolphins and porpoises. And to everyone’s joy, on the very last day, we have had an associated pod of fifteen bottlenose dolphins bow riding with Silurian.
Visiting places I wouldn’t have otherwise, encountering wildlife and getting a taste of life at sea was a dream come true. But all that wouldn’t be so enjoyable if it wasn’t for the greatest group of the volunteers. They were enthusiastic, uplifting and keen to learn. Caring for our sea life is what brought us all together.
Sailing the Hebridean waters was an incredible privilege and a unique experience. It leaves you with a whole new perspective on the sea around you. It makes you appreciate its beauty, peacefulness and dynamic nature. These waters should be respected and treated adequately. This seemingly pristine habitat must be protected at all cost to ensure the future of the wonderful sea life within it.