It’s National Marine Week 2017 this week – what better time to go exploring the seaside and finding wildlife?
All over the UK this week there are specially themed events, designed to give kids an appreciation of sea-life and sea beasties, things like Rock Pool Rummaging where kids can go looking in the rock pools on their local beaches and try to find everything from barnacles to baby crabs.
National Marine Week celebrates the fact that our diverse natural environment and miles and miles of sea shore are a special place for wildlife and nature.
You might be surprised to find out that it’s not all crabs and sea weed – the UK coastline has a rich marine heritage and in fact provides a home for some unusual creatures; basking sharks, puffins, grey seals and dolphins to name just a few. See if you and the kids can spot any unusual creatures while you’re visiting the beach, or take an organised nature walk with experts and spot seals, sea birds and more.
Every year The Wildlife Trust celebrates some of the UKs amazing sea animals and plants during National Marine Week. It’s the perfect opportunity to investigate the sea shore and go looking for interesting things; don’t stick to the crowded beaches this summer, explore the quieter areas and sand dunes to see if you can find wildlife – plants, animals and even fossils.
Protecting our marine wildlife
Sadly, along with much of our natural resources, our marine wildlife is in danger from factors like climate change, over fishing, bad fishing practices and littering.
This National Marine Week is a good opportunity to get kids interested in marine conservation and helping to protect the environment, by explaining that according to experts at The Plastic Ocean Foundation, one in three species of marine mammals around the world has been found tangled up is sea rubbish. Despite media campaigns, it’s also true that over the past 15 years the amount of litter that’s washed up onto UK beaches has almost doubled.
You can help by talking to the children about ways they can protect the environment, and also by doing things yourself to make a big difference. #TheSeaAndMe
- You can set a great example by reusing your shopping bags, switching from drinking out of from plastic bottles to using a reusable bottle and recycling containers where possible to avoid plastic waste ending up in the sea.
- Don’t use any laundry products or general washing detergents which contain phosphates as these can damage water quality and lead to harming marine animals. Washing clothes at a lower temperature can also help to make a difference.
- Recycle as much of your household waste as you can; this will make a big difference to the amount of plastics that end up floating in the sea. Always dispose of your rubbish carefully, with the environment in mind.
Explaining to children why it’s so important to protect our sea life, and how they can do their bit to help, will make National Marine Week more meaningful, and give them a better appreciation of the impact they can have on their world as they forage for sea creatures in rock pools!