Volunteers needed for marine wildlife project

Sarah Ward, living seas officer for Sussex Wildlife Trust, taking part in a Shoresearch event SUS-181107-101153001
Sarah Ward, living seas officer for Sussex Wildlife Trust, taking part in a Shoresearch event SUS-181107-101153001

Wildlife lovers from Chichester to Rye are joining the Sussex Wildlife Trust movement to promote conservation of beaches and marine life.

Shoresearch events are part of the initiative to survey habitats, species found and climate change indicators in order to inform the government which coastal areas should be designated for protection.

Shoresearch group of volunteers categorising marine life found on the beach SUS-181107-101224001

Shoresearch group of volunteers categorising marine life found on the beach SUS-181107-101224001

Sarah Ward, living seas officer at Sussex Wildlife Trust, is encouraging people to get involved with the project and the group is making its way to Bognor on Thursday, July 26. Sarah said: “It’s open to anyone and everyone, and you don’t need any prior knowledge. Come along to your local group or all of them if you want to join in.”

Last year’s Shoresearch groups spent 269 hours of volunteer time finding 142 different species, including the stalked jellyfish which was a new finding.

Sarah said that she finds the project absolutely fascinating, tapping into a childhood love of searching in rock pools for sea creatures.

Keen volunteers can meet the group outside The Cabin Pub in Elmer Road at 3.30pm to take part in the survey. Sarah advised that under 18s should be joined by an adult and no dogs are allowed. The project is accessible for everyone, but they are also collecting useful and correct information which will help to benefit the beach life. The trust uses the information collected to create a database, together with other coastal Wildlife Trusts across the country, which is used as evidence when designating Marine Conservation Zones.

The government are running a public consultation to designate 41 new zones, including three Sussex sites to add to the six already in the area. People can show their support for the project by sending a Wave of Support through the Wildlife Trust website at www.wildlifetrusts.org. There are other chances to get involved with Shoresearch later in the year, as the group will be surveying Thornham Point, Chichester Harbour, on September 7 and Bognor Rocks in Aldwick on September 10.

For more information, or to register interest in an event, email Sarah on sarahward@sussexwt.co.uk.