WHO WE ARE
We are a group of Marine and Coastal Scientists and Professionals, as well as people from other walks of life who are passionate about bringing science and citizens together.
We want to work on a micro-level to achieve change on a bigger scale: By offering exciting events where marine scientists and professionals can engage directly with local communities, we wish to foster a feeling of mutual benefit, increase ocean literacy and help empower coastal communities.
WHAT WE DO
We operate on three very basic assumptions:
1. There are many Marine / Coastal Scientists and Professionals who are keen on telling people about their passion.
2. Many of these scientists and professionals like to hike along our beautiful coast.
3. There are many people living in coastal communities who would profit from more knowledge about their natural environment.
HOW WE DO IT
Marine scientists and professionals will walk stretches of the English Coastal Path and give talks in the villages, towns and cities they pass through. By the end of 2021 the entirety of the ECP will have been walked by the marine community, with talks delivered in more than 180 locations. We will be mapping our endeavors on an interactive map which will allow people to virtually follow our walks and talks. Participants also blog about their walks, sharing pictures and impressions and thus introducing the English Coast, its beauty and the challenges it faces, to a wider digital public. We also run a Buddy Programme, which teams up scientists with interested locals to "open up" science to a broad demographic.
The talks we deliver are interactive, locally relevant and fun. They are designed to spark interest and encourage further engagement. There will be talks for young people as well as for adults. We will work together with local nature groups, schools and other educational facilities and councils to ensure that our offer meets local needs. We will work with artists and local groups to make our events attractive and interesting to a broad audience, also to people not normally engaged with conservation work or science. Attendance to all talks will be free of charge. All talks and supporting material will be made available online.
WHY WE DO IT
Through enabling people to better understand their surroundings, we aim to empower them, encourage them to take ownership of their communities and develop a sense of self-pride by increasing positive identification with their region's social and natural local heritage. Through connecting marine scientists and professionals with local people, we want to lay the foundations for a more transdisciplinary approach to science and policy in the future.
We have chosen the Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) because it symbolizes two key aspects of our initiative:
1. As a coastal bird which occurs all around the English coast, it symbolizes life on the land/sea interface. Just as the people of coastal communities, its fate is intrinsically linked to both land and sea.
2. Our initiative wants to promote understanding of our great neighbour, the ocean. In many ways, we aim to make it more accessible to people by providing knowledge and an incitement to "face the sea". In some locations, the Ringed Plover is struggling because too many people are accessing the coast in a non-mindful way. We want to encourage mindful interaction with coastal ecosystems, so that all coastal inhabitants, human and non-human, can thrive.