The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) is dedicated to enhancing knowledge and understanding of Scotland’s whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) and the Hebridean marine environment through education and research.
Thanks to National Lottery funding, HWDT purchased the Silurian. She’s a dedicated research and education vessel allowing HWDT to carry out educational research voyages with volunteers and young people including disadvantaged youth groups. As a ‘floating classroom’, she is more than up to the job after being used during filming of the BBC’s The Blue Planet. She’s fully equipped with a crow’s nest for observations, computer systems and hydrophones for detecting cetacean vocalisations.
In 10 years of operation, Silurian has welcomed onboard 810 adult volunteers, 1,962 school students and 19 youth participants.
First Mate, Tom (19), is a prime example of how Silurian can make an impact on an individual. He participated in an educational visit at primary school which inspired him to pursue a career combining his interest in science and the ocean. When he finished school, Tom became First Mate onboard Silurian. He’s responsible for the day-to-day running of the research vessel and floating classroom, assisting science staff with the monitoring programme and teaching volunteers about the local marine heritage.
Gemma Paterson, Education Officer at HWDT, said: “Overall the funding that we have received from the National Lottery has allowed us to enthuse and educate the decision-makers of the future; instilling a sense of environmental responsibility and commitment to the protection of the marine environment in the people of the Hebrides.”
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