High School pupils help conserve wild places


In collaboration with Glengorm Wildlife Project, HWDT has supported students from Tobermory High School to achieve their John Muir Discovery Award.

Over the past 6 years, over 100 students from the high school have achieved the award, which aims to foster an appreciation of wild places.

Directly supporting the work of the Trust, each year a new cohort of students take part in citizen science, carrying out a headland watch from Glengorm Castle to record data on whales, dolphins, porpoise, seabirds, boats and the environment.

Last year the group, identified and recorded a minke whale during their watch, entering the sighting into the Trust’s app, Whale Track, which now contains over 6500 sightings reported by local people, businesses and visitors to the west coast.  

This year, the students hoped to spot killer whales, after two bulls - identified as belonging to the West Coast Community - were seen off Skye, heading south. Unfortunately, no cetaceans were recorded on the watch. However, the killer whales did make an appearance off Mull’s shores the following day, with whale-watch operator Sea Life Surveys encountering them on their trip.

Despite no sightings of whales and dolphins, the students efforts still proved very valuable. When monitoring cetaceans, both the presence and absence of animals is important, as it enables us to better understand cetacean movements and behaviour, information that is vital for conservation.  

In addition to taking part in a citizen science programme, the students also carried out a beach clean, taking practical steps to help conserve and improve the wild coastline bordering the Glengorm estate. This year the group collected several bags of rubbish, ranging from packing straps and rope, to plastic bottles and balloons. By removing this waste from the marine environment, Tobermory High School students have helped to prevent litter re-entering the sea, thus removing the potential harm to marine life.

HWDT would like to congratulate the students on their efforts over the day and their achievement of the award and thank their teacher Ryan Lowe, and the new Glengorm Ranger, Chloe for making the day such a success.