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Young volunteers get crabby

August 21, 2011

by Marc Smith, Marine Warden

At Kimmeridge Bay, as part of the celebrations for the Wildlife Trusts’ National Marine Week, young volunteers got the exciting opportunity to experience life as a ‘Marine Warden’ for the day.  Budding conservationists and young marine enthusiasts – members of our K Team – joined me to find out about some of the exciting things that we get up to down at Kimmeridge.

Annie and Lucy looking after our keen crabbers.

 

First off, they got to learn all about the fascinating history of the Fine Foundation Marine
Centre and the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve – how the reserve is the longest running Voluntary Marine Reserve in the country and how it has been protecting our spectacular wildlife since 1978.  They were shown the aquarium and were told how we keep all of our little marine beasties happy during their stay with us and they were treated to a slide show about all of the amazing animals that can be found in our local waters.

 

Are you sure there is a crab there?

After their whistle-stop-tour of wildlife it was time to get some fresh air so we hit the beach to carry out a strandline survey.  Part of being a marine warden is monitoring what is under the water and along our shoreline.  By keeping a close eye on what is happening we can track invasive species, monitor declines in native species, identify key breeding sites, and monitor climate change.  The tide was in and there was only about 50 metres of beach to search but we managed to find eggcases from 2 thornback rays, a lesser spotted catshark and a small spotted ray.

Tom passing on his top-tips

After a spot of lunch, we reconvened in the classroom.  It was time for ‘AMAZING FACTS’ about crabs.  We were running an eco-friendly crabbing event so it was the perfect opportunity for our new ‘marine wardens’ to experience what it was like to help out at a Dorset Wildlife Trust event.  Part of being a marine warden is about sharing your knowledge and passion for wildlife with other people.  It’s about bringing marine life – to life!  You get the privilege of showcasing the incredible beauty and the sheer wonder of what is going on in our sea.  Every animal, every piece of seaweed has its own fascinating individual story to tell.

‘Did you know...? Rhyanon and Beatrice

With their brains overflowing with ‘amazing crab facts’ the K Team took to the shore to share their new found knowledge and genuine excitement.  The crabs started coming in thick and fast as the team passed on their top tips on how to catch them.  Heather was naming all of the lead characters in the stories that were unfolding ‘Stevie the shore crab’ and a ‘bob the blenny’.  Severina spent about an hour trying to entice one crab out of its little hole, while Matthew was falling over himself (literally) trying to tell people about crabs.

Leo caught a HUGE blenny

 

Darcy and Maggie acted as roving reporters for the afternoon.  Taking lots of photos and getting quotes.  They spoke to Leo who had just caught a huge blenny:  He said “It’s been Fun.  I would love to come again.  I found a fish and called him Leo”.  Severina from the K Team added “Crabbing is really cool.  Learnt more about crabs – they’re more aggressive with only one pincer”.  The best quote of all came from one of the parents “I really enjoyed the help from the K Team.  It was an excellent day”.  The K Team were there to experience a day as a marine warden but as far as I was concerned on this day they were all fully fledged marine wardens……. it was an excellent day!

If you would like to find out more about our K Team visit http://www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/surfnturf.html.   From this page you can also download our upcoming events.  Or just give me a call on 01929 481044.  It would be great to hear from you.

Marc

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