Picnics, rocky shores and friendships for life

Sea stars - some of the Living Seas Champions

Three of our Living Seas Champions have developed a firm friendship through their love of the rockyshore and the need to be a part of helping to conserve the special patch of nature that is Anglesey between the tides.

When we first met Sue Timperley she had just initiated her retirement and was looking for something to do. She got in touch with North Wales Wildlife Trust (NWWT) volunteering and found that the marine team was looking for help with events and surveys on the coast near her. Sue fell fully into a summer of events and beyond and often enjoys remembering that her introduction to volunteering at a seawatching event was the 20minute journey in the van on the way. She then proceeded to relay everything she had literally just learnt to those attending and waiting to walk to the clifftop, whilst everyone else was collecting the equipment!! Well done her (but if you’re thinking of joining as a volunteer it’s not always like this – although on the job learning is key). Sue’s story was featured in the Wildlife Trusts’ annual impact report.

Allan showed Sue just how a “Picnic with a porpoise” event should be done.

Allan showed Sue just how a “Picnic with a porpoise” event should be done.

It was to one of these regular “Picnic with a Porpoise” events that she invited Allan, a fellow Co-coast volunteer whose interest in rockpooling had been reinvigorated from having rockpooled as a child with his father on Anglesey years before.  As Sue and Allan spent time rockpooling around the shores of Anglesey, sharing their finds with friends on Facebook, their interest began to rub-off on Ann, Allan’s neighbour and long-time friend, who had joined them on her visits to the island.

My Wild Life mock-up - North Wales Wildlife Trust membership magazine

My Wild Life mock-up - North Wales Wildlife Trust membership magazine

 

 

Ann promptly upped-sticks and relocated to Anglesey and the three of them became Living Seas Wales Champions (Ann and Al and their rockpooling have featured as the most recent “My Wild Life” article in the NWWT membership magazine).  

Their friendship has blossomed and now goes well beyond their Living Seas Champion volunteering, but they’re still an integral part of our rockyshore surveys, summer events (when they can happen again) and Ann and Al are helping to inform and bring a smile on local Social media pages whilst we’re all in lockdown. In fact, their plan is to log and record all the intertidal life they can, once they can return to the shores. They are building their expertise on the rocky shores of Anglesey and are helping to improve the species databases with their intensive work.

Volunteering can be an incredibly rewarding activity however involved you become and we can see from this group of friends (who are now good friends with many other Living Seas Volunteers) that sometimes those rewards are lasting.

They inspire me everyday

Nia Hâf Jones (Living Seas Manager) - “The Living Seas Champions and all of our volunteers, are an integral part of the Living Seas Wales Team. Without them, the project simply wouldn’t work – they make it what it has become and for that I’m so grateful. They inspire me everyday and if I’m honest they’ve shown me that I’ve been rock pooling wrong for my entire life! Al, Ann and Sue are brilliant, I don’t think I’ve been out with them anywhere and not laughed (and by this, I mean a good howl rather than a chuckle!), learnt something new or just been in awe of their enthusiasm and dedication to marine conservation”

The team has also gone terrestrial too. They’re all an integral part of the Anglesey branch of the hedgehog rescue charity, “Hedgehuggles”. Working to keep the branch running or helping with the rescues in Sue’s always busy HOGSpital.