Kent Wildlife Trust: ‘Guardians of the Deep’ project update

PUBLISHED: 11:14 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:14 23 March 2020

Velvet swimming crab at the SALT Festival (photo: Peter Bartel)

Velvet swimming crab at the SALT Festival (photo: Peter Bartel)

Archant

Thanks to the Guardians of the Deep project, Kent now has 11 Marine Conservation Zones

It’s amazing how time flies. My fellow project officers and I can hardly believe it was almost three years ago we met and set to work on the ‘Guardians of the Deep’ project.

We want the shore to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of knowledge, and if I may brag for a moment, I think we’ve moved Kent one step closer to that goal.

The Guardians of the Deep project has involved local people in the protection and monitoring of Kent’s coastal wildlife. It has also encouraged young people to get excited about marine wildlife through a programme of snorkelling activities and practical learning opportunities at coastal sites around the county.

The project has enabled us to achieve:

- 33 Undersea Explorer Sessions

- 1,162 WildBeach participants

- 370 Coastal Guardians trained

- 1 mention on the One Show

- 71,367 non-native oysters removed

- 8 locations where Woolly Watery World is displayed

- 2 After-dark rock pooling sessions

Overall, the last three years have been incredible. I don’t know if you’ve ever been rock pooling with a child who’s never been to the beach before, but it’s a memorable experience.

Throughout the project we worked with children who swore blind they’d never touch a crab or enjoy themselves on the shore, and in the end they always did.

The feeling of achievement and pride at how those children have grown over the WildBeach sessions is what makes the difficult moments worthwhile.

A key part of Guardians of the Deep are our Coastal Guardians, volunteers who observe a stretch of coast on a regular basis, acting as the eyes and ears of Kent’s coast. Through the encouragement and training one of our Coastal Guardians received, she has now gone on to volunteer for MarineLife, spending time at sea recording birds and cetaceans (aquatic mammals) seen from large vessels.

The impact we have had on the coast should last for years. Kent now has 11 Marine Conservation Zones, thanks in part to our supporters telling the government how import the seas around Kent’s coast are.

There are so many people this project wouldn’t have been possible without, particularly our partners: Kent Wildlife Trust; the Medway and Swale Estuary Partnership; Thanet District Council; Natural England and Kent County Council.

Many thanks also go to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for supplying the funding needed to make this project happen.

Lastly but by no means least, thank you to everyone who has attended our events, knitted a woolly creature or even just liked a post on social media.

This project would not have been possible without your support and we are so grateful to each and every one of you.

Get in touch

If you would like to get involved in any one of Kent Wildlife Trust’s programmes or projects please visit kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering or call us on 01622 662012

@KentWildlife

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