17 April 2023
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April is national ‘Citizen Science’ month when anyone can get involved in projects which provide important data and insight. You don’t need a degree in biology. The only requirement is that you care about our planet.
The Marine Conservation Society has numerous new and ongoing studies to get involved with. From reporting wildlife and seaweed sightings to fun-filled family activities at the beach there are so many ways to play your part.
Big Seaweed Search
The Marine Conservation Society, which has received £3.75million in funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, awarded through Postcode Planet Trust, is on a mission to fight for cleaner, better protected, and healthier oceans.
Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised an incredible sum of money to support Marine Conservation Society. Programmes such as Citizen Science give people the opportunity to really get involved, learn more about the oceans around us and see what we can be doing now and, in the future, to protect our coastlines for future generations."
Seaweed tells scientists a lot about the state of the sea. Every year, together with the Natural History Museum, the Marine Conservation Society asks volunteers across the country to take a closer look at UK seaweeds.
By learning what species of seaweed can be found and where around the UK coast, scientists can better understand factors such as ocean warming and acidification.
Whether you live by the sea or only visit every now and again, why not see what seaweed you can find on your next visit to the coast?
Amazing creatures are regularly spotted around the UK shoreline and identifying them really helps scientists understand the impact of climate change on wildlife. If you see jellyfish or turtles when at the coast, simply let the Marine Conservation Society know via this sightings page.
Data on what’s been seen provides vital information about our ocean visitors and contributes to scientific research which finds solutions to protect our seas. In 2022 the charity had over 1,300 jellyfish reports from hundreds of volunteers across the UK and Ireland as well as 11 turtle sightings.
Whether by the sea or in your local park, the Marine Conservation Society wants to find out what litter you’ve been picking up. On every clean-up project the charity asks people to run a litter survey recording all the items of rubbish they find. This data is used to campaign for real change.
The charity has seen some great results. Data has been used to make a positive impact on our ocean - including the introduction of plastic bag charges, banning microplastics in personal care products, better wet wipe labelling, and supporting a tax on single-use plastic items.
No matter where you live across the UK, you can help keep our seas clean. Most of the litter that ends up on our beaches or in the sea starts its journey in villages, towns, and cities miles from the coast. The Marine Conservation Society has a ‘Source To Sea’ survey form so you can participate wherever you live. Matthew Willshire, a volunteer who took part in in a Source To Sea litter pick along the Thames, explained why getting involved with Marine Conservation Society was so important to him.
He said: “Cleaning up litter also keeps blue spaces such as beaches and rivers clean; areas essential for our emotional and physical wellbeing. Keeping them clean will allow more people to enjoy these spaces and feel a stronger connection to nature, which is becoming increasingly scarce in a modern world. Participating in a beach clean meant I could play my part, however small, in protecting these areas.”
The Marine Conservation Society has been supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery since 2015, with funding impacting across their citizen science programme.
Sandy Luk, Chief Executive Officer at the Marine Conservation Society, explained the huge benefit that the support of players has had: “We are so grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their long-term support of our work. It really does make such an enormous difference; helping us to fight for a cleaner, better-protected, healthier ocean - one we can all enjoy. Thank you.”