"Best school day ever!"
Last week, the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust sailed Silurian, their bespoke whale and dolphin research vessel, to the islands on the edge of the Atlantic, taking a break from surveying for a special education visit to the Isle of Lewis.
This pioneering expedition brought marine education to life for 145 primary school children, from Stornoway and Laxdale Primary Schools as they boarded the acclaimed floating classroom in Stornoway’s Marina, for awe-inspiring hands-on sessions developed around the life of a marine mammal scientist.
Pushing the boundaries, this was HWDT’s first ever education trip to Lewis, since purchasing Silurian in 2002. A floating classroom like no other, these sessions engaged and amazed the children through the medium of both English and Gaelic, forming HWDT’s first showcase of their new Gaelic Engagement Programme - Rùraich Biast-Mhara Innes Gall.
In the evenings, whilst alongside the pontoons in the heart of Stornoway, Silurian’s hatch was opened to the public, with over 40 visitors joining the crew on board. The team were delighted to hear of the amazing sightings folk had experienced and showed people around the vessel, answering questions about the Trust's research expeditions which monitor whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks across the west coast.
After a busy, successful week, the crew set sail for Ullapool, in preparation for the next research survey, scheduled to start on the 13th September. This will be the Trust’s first survey from Ullapool in 2018, allowing the team to monitor the more remote and northern parts of their study area.
The Trust would like to extend warm thanks to everyone who helped make the education trip a success, particularly Stornoway Port Authority for such a welcoming stay.
HWDT's education programme is possible thanks to a generous grant from People’s Local Trust, raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, as well as funds from the Robertson Trust and Bòrd na Gaidhlig.