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Animal donate to Dorset Wildlife Trust
We recently made the switch from plastic to paper bags in our Animal stores, but whenever they’re requested, we’ve decided to put the charge towards a worthy cause...
Our Dorset home is one of green open spaces, woodlands and beaches, zigzagging along the glittering shoreline of the Jurassic Coast. And we’re so lucky to enjoy all of this on a daily basis. As epic as it is to embrace our natural surroundings - from surfing its waves to riding its trails – a responsibility is equally ours to care for it.
With this in mind, it seemed like a natural fit to donate to our friends at the Dorset Wildlife Trust who do incredible work in the local area. The largest conservation charity in Dorset, the DWT has over 25,000 members, with a mission to engage and inspire people to help promote sustainable living, and a vision to secure a future for Dorset’s wildlife. We’re excited to announce that our donation will go directly to the DWT’s Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre.
We met with Julie Hatcher, Dorset Wildlife Trust Marine Awareness Officer, this week, at the Wild Seas Centre, based just down the road from us in the rolling hills of Kimmeridge Bay, to present our donation cheque.
Showing us around the centre, Julie explained all about the fragile ecosystem of Kimmeridge bay, which can be explored on their amazing snorkel trail. From rockpools teeming with life, to seaweeds and sea creatures such as Mullet and unusual looking Tompot blennies, there’s an underwater world that’s out of sight; but certainly not out of mind for Julie and her team who educate, inform and promote the importance of sea life conservation today, and for generations to come.
And with regards to the future, the UK government has launched a platform giving the public an opportunity to have their say concerning the protection of 41 new Marine Conservation Zones. Closer to home, there are 6 sites in the Dorset area being put forward for this level of protection, including Studland Bay and the Purbeck Coast. You can find out more about MCZs below.
We catch up again with Julie to find out a little bit more about marine conservation and the great work the Dorset Wildlife Trust are doing…
So, first things first, could you tell us a bit about the centre at Kimmeridge, and what visitors can look forward to when they’re there?
The Wild Seas Centre has recently been refurbished so has a bright, up-to-date look with lots of information about the marine life of the local area. There is a small aquarium with a brand new indoor rock pool showing what lives on the seashore and in the shallows of Kimmeridge Bay. A new touch screen enables visitors to explore the Dorset seabed and find out what’s living just offshore and there are hands-on games and activities for the children. As well as that we have a small gift shop and a team of friendly staff and volunteers to welcome you and give help and advice if you have any questions.
Photos: Julie Hatcher
Kimmeridge Bay is home to so many weird and wonderful forms of life, what could we find if we went on your snorkel trail?
There is a snorkel trail which is laid out in the safe, shallow waters of the bay from May to September, which is free for anyone to use. Along the trail you might spot fish such as Corkwing wrasse busy collecting seaweed for their nests, or larger Ballan wrasse calmly cruising alongside the rocky ledges. Those ledges are also home to prawns and a variety of crabs, including the red-eyed Velvet swimming crab. Snakelocks anemones wave their long pink tentacles as you swim by and all this against a colourful backdrop of the seaweed garden, with its tall, golden Japanese seaweed, short pink Coral weed and bushy blue Rainbow wrack. Find out more here.
We’re excited to support such a worthy cause – how will our donation contribute to the work that you do?
Dorset Wildlife Trust is delighted and very grateful to receive this generous donation. Running the Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre and all our activities at Kimmeridge is costly and we are reliant on the generosity of individuals and organisations like Animal to help keep the Centre open. We are always looking for new ways to involve both visitors, sea-users and the local community in our work and we hope to be able to use this money to improve people’s awareness of and connection with the sea for the benefit of both people and the wildlife that lives there.
Do you have any upcoming events or projects at the centre for growing marine conservation awareness?
National Marine Week, organised by The Wildlife Trusts all around the country, runs from 28th July until 12th August and we will be running a whole host of events from Rockpool Rambles and Eco-crabbing on the seashore to a cliff-top dolphin watch and Super Seals day and kids craft activities in the centre. There is also a Marine Litter Awareness day to learn all about this global problem threatening our oceans and do your bit to help tackle it. All our events can be found here.
Are there ways both locals and visitors can do their bit to help protect our shores?
There is lots of information in the Wild Seas Centre to help everyone get involved in protecting our marine wildlife, from carrying a refillable drinks bottle when out and about to cut down on single-use plastic bottles, to doing a #2minutebeachclean every time they visit the beach. Seafood eaters can learn how to choose responsibly sourced seafood from our local fishermen. There are also opportunities to become Citizen scientists and report their wildlife encounters, which can be anything from seals and jellyfish to the Mermaid’s Purses picked up on beaches. This information is vital to help us protect the important areas for these animals.
If the six recommended sites in Dorset become Marine Conservation Zones, what kind of protection will be provided for these areas?
Until 20th July everyone has the opportunity to add their voice to our calls for legal protection of six proposed sites in Dorset (41 throughout the country). Kimmeridge and the surrounding area is one of the sites proposed, called Purbeck Coast. These sites will complete a network of Marine Conservation Zones that is being developed around the UK. Protection in each site will be different depending on what human activities are damaging the habitats or threatening the particular species found there. The most destructive types of fishing, those that drag heavy gear along the seabed, will be banned from sensitive sites, while less destructive types of fishing, such as recreational fishing and potting for shellfish could continue, with some monitoring to ensure they do not increase beyond a certain level.
A variety of management can be used, including voluntary codes of conduct, installing eco-moorings where necessary, running educational programmes for sea-users or introducing temporary restrictions of activities. If well-managed, these sites will be able to recover and thrive, become more resilient to change and benefit all of us. Add your voice to our Wave of Support here.
We saw first hand the beauty of the sea life in an area so close to home, but also how crucial it is to ensure these delicate ecosystems are conserved and protected. If you’re keen to learn more about the Wild Seas Centre or the work that the Dorset Wildlife Trust do, take a look here.
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