All Together Now: Marine Citizen Science Day

The Great British weather is no match for the passionate public this week, as we head to the coast for Marine Citizen Science Day.

We've been talking a lot about citizen science lately, and what better way to celebrate World Oceans Day than by taking a look at what this method achieves for our seas? Citizen science is all about bringing people together to tackle large-scale issues - by pooling data collected by many individual volunteers it transforms small actions into big results for organisations like ours.

The contribution that citizen science makes to our work locally is truly momentous; it's helped us to limit harmful fishing practices and secure Marine Protected Areas, among other milestone victories for nature. It's also integrated local knowledge into the wider picture of the pressures on wildlife across the UK, enabling better collaboration between different organisations within the conservation sector.

We wanted to share the importance of citizen science, and showcase some of the fun and easy ways to get involved. So we headed down to the beautiful Royal Victoria Country Park for a day of learning about our marine environment and how we can all help to protect it.

We wanted to highlight as many amazing initiatives as possible, so were happy to be joined on the day by:

  • Bird Aware Solent – an initiative raising awareness of the birds that winter on the Solent, with the aim of reducing disturbance.
  • CITiZAN - a national project recording and protecting our coastal heritage, from prehistory through to the present day.
  • Just One Ocean – a charity promoting research and raising awareness about issues affecting our oceans, including the Big Microplastic Survey.
  • Planet Aware – a consultancy working with local communities, businesses, and individuals to address environmental issues.
  • Surfers Against Sewage – a grassroots movement tackling plastic pollution and protecting our coastlines.

As well as stalls run by the various organisations we had short talks and fun practical activities. We also encouraged those attending to take a pledge for the marine environment - these were all personal choices, and ranged from reducing plastic use to raising awareness at work. These were recorded on a pair of old plastic boat fenders; these are sometime found washed up on our beaches, but this pair are being put to good use!

The weather was not on our side, with torrential rain and high winds lasting most of the day. Luckily the rain eased up in the late afternoon, and we eagerly flocked down to the shoreline for a beach clean and guided walk. With the conditions as they were, we were delighted that so many people braved a trip out to see us - thank you for coming, it was fantastic to speak with you all.

Get involved

Missed us on the day? There are lots of ways to take part in marine citizen science, from reporting wildlife sightings to clearing our shorelines of litter. Check out our guide to the different activities and see which one suits you.