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We're passionate about investing in the next generation of ocean guardians

4 minute read

Katie Macfarlane

Katie Macfarlane

22 Nov 2021

We're committed to supporting and inspiring our next generation so that they can take action for the ocean, and the future of our planet. As part of #iwill week, we're sharing our vision for a new era of ocean guardians who'll continue to care for our seas.

We're passionate about ensuring that young people are equipped and empowered to have their voices heard. We recognise that the voices of our younger generations are an incredible force; their passion for the future of our ocean and concern for our planet are inspiring.

There’s no doubt that these voices have always been there, but leaders, politicians, and decision makers are being called upon to listen, learn, and act – because it's action for their future that they're calling for.

We hope that by empowering them, and ensuring that their voices are heard, we'll be creating a world of ocean guardians - who are committed to caring for our seas.

As part of our vision we're delighted to announce that a brand-new role, that of Youth Engagement Officer, has been created here at the Marine Conservation Society – a role which Katie Macfarlane started this month.

Katie is excited to be championing young people at #iwill Week and has written a short introduction to explain her background, and her vision for her work here as part of the team.

We'll also be introducing you to Caitlin Turner, a marine biology student from Scotland who believes that if we work together now, we can protect and restore the ocean for the future.

Introducing Katie

My background is extremely varied – from working in museums, zoos, and aquariums, with giant tortoises, sharks, and rhinos, to leading inclusive outdoor activities and nature therapy for various underrepresented youth groups across Scotland.

Katie Macfarlane

Katie hopes that her work will put young people at the heart of our charity

Having spent the last six years working specifically with children and young people with disabilities, I’ve developed a strong passion for the inclusion of all people from all walks of life. I believe that given the right opportunities, everyone can work together for the future of our ocean and our planet.

I can’t wait to bring my skills to my new role and start working with young people from across the UK - the future caretakers of our marine environment - to ensure that they're at the heart of our charity.

Making waves at university

I’m Caitlin, I’m 21 and I’m a keen marine conservationist and marine biology student.

My devotion to the ocean started when I was little (thank you, Finding Nemo) and has continued to grow with me throughout the years.

Today, I’m so proud to volunteer for the Marine Conservation Society as a Sea Champion and Beachwatch volunteer, and in 2019 started my university’s first student society dedicated to marine conservation (shout out to the University of Stirling Marine Conservation Society!).

Caitlin Turner

This past year, we’ve still managed to make waves despite COVID restrictions: welcoming a number of guest speakers from different marine conservation groups and projects to our society meeting nights, hosting documentary screenings, joining the Our Seas Coalition as its 101st member; lifting 78.55kg (around 3,619 individual items) from beaches, rivers and public spaces, and more!

We were even able to launch our first Ocean Action Week, which saw us work alongside other Scottish universities and marine conservation organisations to help raise awareness of issues impacting the ocean, and also raise £625 for three conservation charities – including just over £200 for the Marine Conservation Society.

Every day I’m fighting for our seas, and I'm a firm believer that there is hope – so long as we act now.

Every day I’m fighting for our seas, and I'm a firm believer that there is hope – so long as we act now.

Caitlin Turner, Sea Champion

Downloadable lesson plans

Our education team have been busy redeveloping our entire programme, creating a brand new suite of teaching resources and shaping engaging face-to-face sessions for schools and groups.

Our downloadable lesson plans for ages 7-11 cover a range of topics, from creatures and habitats of the ocean to marine litter, making seafood more sustainable, ocean threats and ways we can all help protect our seas.

All lesson plans include background information for teachers and worksheets for students, and sit within four key ocean themes:

Bookable assemblies and workshops

We’re now also able to offer primary schools a selection of brand new assemblies and workshops.

All sessions are connected to the curriculum and our teaching resources, they’re fun and interactive, and are delivered free of charge by our team of staff and volunteers.

Find out more about the sessions on our website and use the booking form to get started.

Engaging younger people on litter and waste pollution

As part of this year’s Great British Beach Clean and Source to Sea events, we designed brand new education packs to enable schools and groups to take part wherever they are.

By getting involved in the litter survey and collecting and analysing data, we hope young people will learn how waste enters the environment, the damage it can cause, and why their litter data is vital to effecting positive change.

Our Beachwatch and Source to Sea programmes can be done at any time of year – download the primary and secondary packs for free from our website.

World Ocean Day for Schools

This year’s World Ocean Day for Schools saw us co-host a day of events connected to the Our Blue Heart project, which focuses on the relationship between people and blue spaces.

As part of the event, we developed a mindfulness assembly, a workshop looking at connecting people to blue spaces both inland and at the coast, and a reflective worksheet, all aimed at improving ocean literacy in young people and inspiring a connection to our marine environment.

Great videos to watch on demand

In the run up to COP26, we created 10-minute assemblies for primary and secondary ages to learn more about the importance of the conference and of the ocean’s role in fighting climate change - you can access them below.

You can find these sessions, and our other videos on topics like careers in marine conservation, plastics, and seagrass, on our YouTube channel.