Explore, Care & Take Action for Nature.
If you met Orsom the Octopus, Cassius the Crab, Deepa the Dolphin, are taking part in the 3P Pledge Champion Award or just simply want to find out more ways that you can tackle marine litter from your home, here are some ideas:
Don’t forget only the 3P’s go into the toilet - Pee/Wee, Poo & Paper –Toilet Paper only. Try to remind everyone else to not forget the 3P’s! Everything else including flushable, biodegradable wipes, sanitary items, nappies, cotton buds, contact lenses, plasters all cause pipe blockages, resulting flooding and can end up in the rivers, the sea & on beaches. Make the 3P Pledge today, become a 3P Champion for where you live & take part in the 3P Pledge Champion Award
Recycle all your drinks packaging & plastic packaging in public bins or at home AND try to use as little plastic as you can. No more plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic toothbrushes (try bamboo). Treat yourself to a reusable takeaway cup or a flask cup for those teas & coffees on the run & a reusable water bottle. Plastic bags are also the common type of litter found in the stomachs of whales & dolphins and turtles mistake them for jellyfish, one of their main food sources. Here are some more brilliant ideas about how to live without plastic from Marine Conservation Society's Top 20 Living Without Plastic Tips & you can also try their plastic challenge too!
Reduce your contribution to microplastic pollution in our seas. Plastic pollution in our rivers & seas is increasing daily which is a risk to wildlife & us. Whether it be large items of plastic polluting the sea already mentioned or microplastics (e.g. microbeads from scrubs, nurdle plastic pellets from industry, microfibers from washing clothes, small bits of plastic from the breakdown of large bits of plastic - plastic bags, bottles), you can play a huge role in reducing plastic pollution.
While microbeads are now banned from cosmetic products (eg scrubs) & toothpaste, they are not yet banned from washing powders, dishwasher & other cleaning products.
Check to see if your product contain any these that make up microbeads: (the list is not comprehensive, but it's a good start):
polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl. Look out for petitions on banning them from products coming up soon!
Get involved in Surfer's Against Sewage's (SAS) Plastic Free Community Initiative, from schools to cities to coastline communities, you can find out more here on the SAS website
Find out more about drinks packaging deposit schemes & why littering is massively reduced where they are. Have you got the Bottle campaign group, with others, successfully campaigned to bring a deposit return system for drinks packaging to Scotland which will be here in 2019. Find out more here.
You could find out more about the Great Nurdle Hunt – nurdles are small plastic pellets about the size of a lentil. Billions are used each year to make our plastics & end up on our shores & in seas through spilling & leakages. Find out more & how you can help at www.nurdlehunt.org.uk
You could help out at a beach clean as volunteers – lots are happening around Scotland & the UK. Visit www.mcsuk.org to find out more.
You could become Sea Champions - www.mcsuk.org.
You could organise your own beach, river or litter pickup. For beaches visit www.mcsuk.org. For help and info on other litter clean ups do visit http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/ or www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org
Explore & Learn!
You could learn more about the wildlife that needs help, why not visit the Wild Planet Explorers Nature Activity Search to find your local nature reserve, national park, nature activity event.
You could explore the beach for wildlife & while there find out if your beach needs a clean! While there, make sure you go rockpooling & meet the wildlife who may need your help. Here are some fab rockpooling tips: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Or why not try some of these new marine Citizen Science opportunities:
- Capturing our Coast - sign up for info here: www.capturingourcoast.co.uk.
- Big Seaweed Search, find out more here: www.nhm.ac.uk.
- Details about Seasearch dive surveys are here: www.seasearch.org.uk.
Or why not go further & explore the wider ocean habitat of the species you are trying to save & maybe get the chance to meet dolphins, whales, seals, sharks & seabirds all around Scotland on boat trips & from the land. You don’t have to go abroad! Always choose a boat trip that is committed to not disturbing dolphins. In Scotland it’s the Dolphin Space Programme (DSP) or the WiSe scheme (Wildlife Safe). Check when booking, here are some ideas:
- Chanonry Point viewing from the beach on the Black Isle, check tide times & more info at Chanonry Point dolphins.
- Whale & Dolphin Conservation Centre in Spey Bay (www.wdcs.org)
- Firth of Forth wildlife watching boats leave from South Queensferry e.g. The Maid of the Forth. Dolphins & whales are rare but you may see a porpoise as well as seals & many amazing seabirds including puffins!
- Dolphin & wildlife watching trips sail from Banff, Macduff, Buckie, Cromarty, Lossiemouth, Nairn, Findhorn, Inverness, Avoch (pronounced Och), Portmahomack & Wick. Remember, dolphins are wild animals so none of the boat trip operators can guarantee sightings.
- You can see whales & dolphins around many of the Scottish Islands – visit the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust website for more info www.whaledolphintrust.co.uk. You can also see whales & dolphins around Orkney & Shetland Islands – visit www.orkney.com & www.shetland.org for more information.
You could donate & help charities who work from the UK but help the seas & the wildlife in the UK & internationally, here are a few (please contact me if you would like to add any group or charity):
Albatrosses – If you have enjoyed Wild Planet Explorers Ava the Albatross session or have been inspired to do more for albatrosses by pictures you have seen on Blue Planet II recently, here are some ways you can help:
You can collect stamps for the RSPB to raise money for the Albatross Task Force. www.rspb.org.uk/. You can drop your stamps off at a local RSPB reserve with a visitor centre & have a great family day out on a nature reserve at the same time www.rspb.org.uk .
Take a look at the MSC Good Fish Guide www.mcsuk.org & always look for the Marine Stewardship Council symbol as a good starting point.
There is much discussion around eating fish & if it is sustainable long term, you can find all these debates and more information online including:
Marine Conservation Society WWF www.goodfishguide.org
WWF overview of how they are working for sustainable fishing wwf.panda.org
RSPB marine policy work www.rspb.org.uk
Greenpeace’s often asked questions at www.greenpeace.org.uk.
If you have enjoyed Wild Planet Explorers Jungo the Tiger session or want to help stop further deforestation & decline of tiger populations in palm oil plantation areas, here are a few ideas how you can help from your home:
You, your class, your family, group or business could become Forest Tiger Champions & complete Wild Planet Explorer's Forest Tiger Champion Award. You can make change happen from your home, school or business. To find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To help forest wildlife in this country as well as abroad, always choose FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified or recycled tissue and toilet paper products. FSC products are derived from sustainable, well managed forests and/or recycled materials. Look for the logo on products e.g. toilet tissue, tissues.
You could check all the products you buy to see if they contain palm oil or not & try buy those with no palm oil or those with sustainable palm oil. Some products have an RSPO logo (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) whose aim is to work towards sustainable palm oil. Visit rspo.org. There has been some criticism of the not-for-profit organisation RSPO recently for not doing enough to ensure sustainability across palm oil production, you can read the latest via Ethical Consumer or other Palm Oil websites if you are interested. Also look for the Green Palm Sustainability logo, find out more at http://www.greenpalm.org/.
Look for Rainforest Alliance-Certified coffee, chocolate & tea, you can see products that are certified at www.rainforest-alliance.org.
You could visit the WWF website to find out more about their WWF Tiger Protector offer which includes a personalised children’s book & up to date booklets on tiger conservation: www.wwf-adopt-a-animal.co.uk.
You could visit the RSPB website to find out more about their Sumatran Tiger Conservation work www.rspb.org.uk.
You could read up on saving wild tigers at Panthera’s Tigers Forever program www.panthera.org
You could encourage others not to feed grey squirrels & just enjoy watching them!
You could encourage others not to bring new species of plants & animals from other countries into the UK as sometimes they can be devastating for plants & animals already living here, as with the grey squirrel. If you want to find out more about the kinds that cause problems in the UK already visit: www.nonnativespecies.org
Record sightings of red squirrels you see via this link www.scottishsquirrels.org.uk
Get in touch with your local squirrel group e.g in Fife it’s www.fiferedsquirrelgroup.org.uk and see if there is any volunteering work you can do for red squirrels.
You could find out about how 6 different charities, government departments & groups in Scotland are working together on the Saving the Red Squirrel project- www.scottishsquirrels.org.uk
You could go and see them for yourself, take a look at this map & see where’s nearest to you www.scottishsquirrels.org.uk
Visit www.fiferedsquirrelgroup.org.uk & scroll down to the bottom to see top tips for squirrel- watching! If you live in Fife, some great tips here where to see red squirrels.
If you have enjoyed Wild Planet Explorers Finto the Frog & Tess the Toad session or are just looking for a way to help your local amphibians & reptiles, here are a few ideas:
You & your family could become Dragon Finders. If you spot spawn, frogs, toads, lizards, snakes when you are out & about or find them in your garden, let Froglife know via their Dragonfinder app: www.froglife.org, or visit www.froglife.org for info.
You and your family could volunteer to clean out a pond or help build a pond – it’s a messy job but ask a local nature reserve if you can help, contact The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to get started or visit www.froglife.org/volunteer, many RSPB family reserves have ponds too so check with your local reserve if they need help.
You could go to a local nature reserve & try pond-dipping. They have DIY pond dipping nets & kits for you to try & some great ponds! Look on the Wild Planet Explorers Nature Activity Search to find your local reserve & see if they have any specific pond dipping events near you.
You could build a home for hibernating frogs & toads, see how here www.rspb.org.uk
You could build your own pond, find out how here! www.froglife.org
Bumblebees, Wasps & Honeybees
If you enjoyed the Wild Planet Explorers Bumble, Walleena & Hum session or would like to do something to help bumblebees, wasps & honeybees, then here are a few ideas:
You could download the Bumblebee Conservation Trust Beekind App which helps you plant the right flowers for bees & check if your current garden flowers are good for bees.
You could download some bee ID guides to learn which bee is which!
You could also pretend to be a bee with your children & make your own bee hummer, here’s how to make it.
You could find out more about the issues with insecticides & bees, including neonicotinoids. A ban has just put been put in place but follow the Soil Association to keep updated on further developments & what you can do to help bees & keep this ban in place.
You could make your own homes for bees. You’ll need a hammer! To learn how to make one, visit ww2.rspb.org.uk
You could try to encourage others not to be frightened of bees & wasps & explain what good they do for us. Remember! No wonder wasps want to come to the picnic, they only live one summer!
You could help weak queen bees & wasps who come into your house in autumn/winter by removing them to a crevice outside or by giving them sugary water on a plate to sip & then removing them.
You could volunteer or fundraise for a charity or group who helps bees and other bugs & beasties e.g Bumblee Conservation Trust, Buglife, Soil Association, RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, Friends of the Earth.