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National Seabird Centre

"As a relative newcomer to the team and first time seal season watcher I was astounded at the fascinating drama and emotion that unfolded before our eyes each day during the project. It was great to see visitors share in this and it gave us the opportunity to reach out to people who might not think of themselves as wildlife enthusiasts."
 

Grant awarded £1000

The Scottish Seabird Centre (formerly the National Seabird Centre) is a conservation and education charity based in North Berwick. Since 2000, the Seabird Centre has revitalised the historic harbour area and North Berwick as a popular town for people to visit. The award-winning Centre is also a well-used asset for local people all year round, runs a schools programme, undertakes conservation work and campaigns on environmental issues.

Between October and December, visitors to the centre are privileged to witness the full breeding cycle of the Isle of May and Craigleith grey seals on the centres interactive cameras.  The Isle of May National Nature Reserve is home to the largest grey seal colony on the east coast of Britain, numbering 4,000. This enthralling, wildlife drama comprises the whole journey from birth, mating and weaning, to the pups coming of age and taking to the sea on their own. 

The Sea-Changers' grant helped to fund 'One born every minute' a program of activities to help raise public awareness of the seals, promote interest with all age groups and give people a personal investment in the seals and their well-being.  Visitors were given lots of information about the seals and their habitat through daily talks delivered in the Discovery Centre with recorded and live footage showing different stages of our main seal colony throughout the season. Younger visitors took part in a seal based trail around the Discovery Centre with activities based on seal abilities and there was a seal based arts and crafts table with activities including puzzles. 

Outcomes

During the period of the event the centre saw higher numbers in daily visits to the Discovery Centre. The centre feels that they have generated an interest in seal season which they can grow and consolidate in the future. 

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