Atlantic College Project Week 3 - Ffion Mitchell

Delivering outdoor learning with Atlantic College

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Earlier this year, we teamed up with teaching staff at United World College of the Atlantic to deliver one of their annual Project Weeks

Welcoming around 350 students from over 90 different countries to study and live in Wales each year, Atlantic College gives students the opportunity to embrace learning outside the classroom through Project Week.

Every Spring, sixth-form students at Atlantic College can immerse themselves in a week-long project to grow their skills, knowledge, and experience of the real-world – and importantly, have fun!

Atlantic College Project Week Seaweed Search - Ffion Mitchell

Our Volunteer & Community Engagement Manager for Wales, Ffion Mitchell, co-designed this year's Project Week alongside Atlantic College teachers, Sov Atkinson, and Emma Pilling.

Over the course of four days, a group of 22 students came together to learn about and participate in our Beachwatch programme, Big Seaweed Search and Seashore Safaris across multiple locations in South Wales.

For some students, this was the first time they had ever set foot on a beach, or in southwest Wales.

Students surveyed and removed over 40 kg of litter from two 100 metre stretches at Swansea Bay and found a variety of items including: metal nails, wet wipes, cigarette butts and of course, hundreds of plastic pieces.

“It's been a pleasure to work so closely with Atlantic College to deliver this Project Week. The information collected by these students acts as invaluable citizen science that will help us drive forward our marine conservation work here in Wales"

Ffion Mitchell, Volunteer & Community Engagement Manager

“The students had a superb week conducting litter and seaweed surveys on Swansea and Gower beaches. The team had a real sense of purpose due to the fact that the information collected contributed to nationwide data bases, which definitely helped maintain motivation and enthusiasm through the week. They developed teamwork and problem solving skills, and learnt how to undertake a variety of scientific surveys. I would definitely encourage other schools and groups to sign up!” - Emma Pilling, Atlantic College

As part of Big Seaweed Search, students accurately identified over seven species of seaweed at both Langland and Caswell Bays – key indicators of climate change.

Exploring the cracks and cervices of rockpools, students found a variety of marine life, ranging from dog whelk eggs, common limpets, beadlet anemones and shore crabs.

Many of the students were filled with excitement and awe, having never seen or heard of some of these species before in their lives.

As well as discovering and identifying marine life they had never come across before, these students collected and contributed important data through citizen science, which we'll use to support and inform our work.

This was a unique experience full of learning and entertaining dynamics. Projects like this should be replicated more because we have a responsibility as human beings to take care of our environment and the first step is to learn how to do it. I'd encourage everyone to get involved, the experience is unforgettable.

Andrea Valeria, Student at UWC Atlantic College

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