The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside
Sea-Changers Grant given:
The 'Our Irish Sea' project was all about changing the perception many people who live in Merseyside and Lancashire have of the Irish Sea. The Wildlife Trust wanted to deliver inspirational and engaging marine activities along the coast to raise awareness about the wealth of wildlife the Irish Sea supports and the importance of protecting it for the future.
The Sea-Changers grant was used to purchase equipment for running outdoor, practical events for local people and schools. The project encouraged the participation of Shoresearches, to record the vast array of marine life that washes up on the strandline and Seawatches, to record large fauna in the Irish Sea. The aim was to build a lasting connection that will encourage people to support the campaign for protection of this precious marine area.
"I stumbled across the 'Our Irish Sea' project on a trip to Formby beach and spent the afternoon learning all about the weird and wonderful creatures on the strandline. My daughters had an amazing time digging in the sand for worms and shells, and since returning home have decided they want to protect all the animals in the sea when they grow up.”
The project reached and engaged with thousands of people, generating 83 events, 17 wildlife surveys, and recruiting 51 new volunteers willing to give their time to the Wildlife Trust. There was a significant increase in social media followers on the 'Living Seas' pages and a pledge campaign, in which hundreds of people wrote their pledge to help protect our seas, contributed to a further surge, reaching individuals who would otherwise not regularly visit such pages.
Several more events took place following the success of the initial funded project, allowing for further use of the materials purchased with the Sea-Changers grant. The success of the project gives further evidence to support the Wildlife Trust's campaign for Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea, giving permanent protection to this important marine habitat.