~New opportunities in the UK~
Oxford. 27 April 2006. If you're looking for a fulfilling adventure this summer then you don't have to travel to far-flung destinations. Why not reduce your carbon footprint and help protect Britain's wildlife by joining an expedition in the UK with environmental charity Earthwatch?
If you were saddened by the stranded bottle-nosed whale in the Thames last January, then Earthwatch can offer you the opportunity to work with the Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit (CRRU) for 12 days in the Moray Firth to learn how to assist with sick, stranded and injured marine mammals. Volunteers will also be trained to identify whales and dolphins, record their group structure, and observe their behaviour from a five metre rigid inflatable boat.
"The CRRU and Earthwatch are dedicated to improving the conservation of marine species," explains Dr Roger Mitchell, Chief Scientist at Earthwatch. "Volunteers will act as central members of the research team and provide the manpower needed to further our knowledge of the bottlenose dolphin, the minke whale and the harbour porpoise."
If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground then consider visiting Oxford's picturesque ancient woodland where mammal populations are struggling after a long dry winter. You can help them by joining Earthwatch scientists who are monitoring badgers, field mice, deer and squirrels to establish how climate change will affect their survival and what conservation measures are necessary. Volunteers join the team for six days to help observe badger behaviour, count badger cubs and humanely trap, weigh, measure and release small mammals.
Alternatively, why not help local scientists to explore the rocky headlands and idyllic beaches of Cornwall in search of grey seals, the largest marine animals to breed ashore the British Isles. As the tourism industry develops pressure on the seals and their habitat increases. The information provided by this project will be used to make recommendations for their protection. Volunteers must learn to become invisible, disappearing amongst the rocks in order to photograph the seals and record their reaction to passing boats and human activity.
"Joining this project was a wonderful experience," says Norma Blamires (68), past Earthwatch volunteer. "Observing the seals at such close quarters was fascinating and the work was incredibly rewarding. There was a real sense of community among the volunteers and the research team and I was proud to be part of it."
UK Earthwatch projects last from six to 12 days, and costs range from £315 to £695, which covers comfortable accommodation, food and training. Spare time activities include coastal walks, local castles and museums, bird watching and evening lectures. All projects run throughout the spring and summer with volunteer groups ranging from six to 12 people.
For press information, images and interviews contact Zoe Gamble, Senior Press Officer, 01865 318852 / firstname.lastname@example.org