Last month saw the first all-science teacher team on an Earthwatch project. Through support from GlaxoSmithKline, Julie Mackay from Earthwatch Institute (Europe) and four secondary teachers from across the UK joined the Earthwatch project Britain's Basking Sharks based off the west coast of Scotland.
Using the charming fishing port of Arisaig as their base, the team sailed around new project research focus areas of the Inner Hebridean islands of Eigg, Rhum, Skye and Canna, monitoring the habitat and recording marine life in the area. Unfortunately, poor weather (up to a force 11 gale on one evening!) prevented the team from sailing every day.
While minke whales, harbour porpoises and common seals were sighted, the second largest fish was elusive on this occasion. Even though the research was hampered somewhat by stormy conditions, the team of science teachers enjoyed spending time together and participating in a field research project, exploring a largely unspoilt and remote area of Scotland.
Not a moment was wasted on board the research vessel ‘Forever Changes' - Julie and Colin Speedie showed educational videos, led talks and lively debates on different aspects of the research and environmental issues more widely. By the end of the five day team teachers had devised and gathered lots of ideas for classroom activities and lesson plans.
Photo credits: © Jamie Martin, © Hebridean Whale Dolphin Trust Esther Ball/Earthwatch