The wonderful marine environment and wildlife of Scotland are one of the country’s best kept secrets. A fascinating world lies beneath and around our shores, with a wealth of amazing things to discover and learn, but it is important that it can be appreciated by everyone – most importantly our young people.
As the Education Officer at the Scottish Seabird Centre I am privileged to teach and inspire children about marine life and the mesmerising world below the waves. Not only is it a fascinating subject, but with an ever-growing number of major threats to our seas and marine life as well as the impact that the human race is having on our planet, it’s more important than ever to teach the next generation about ways they can protect it. The proposed national marine centre will be an unrivalled resource in terms of learning and conservation, providing a deeper appreciation and understanding of the marine life in Scotland’s waters and beyond.
2018, a key year in the development of our Centre, will mark Scotland’s Year of Young People. Running from 1 January to 31 December 2018, Scotland will celebrate the very best of the country and its young people, focusing the spotlight on our nation as a great place for our youth to grow up in and make an important and significant contribution to society. 2020 is Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters when we hope to open the national marine centre.
Our main aim with the national marine centre is to increase educational opportunities. An improved education centre will allow us to meet the increasing demand from school groups and address wider learning needs, enabling us to encourage children of all ages to learn and care about the marine environment and wildlife.
Not only will we increase the size of our existing classroom to create a sophisticated Learning Lab, but our new education and outreach programmes will deliver stimulating and inspiring activities to engage young people with science, ecology and marine life. Teaching will not only take place at the Centre – involving indoor and outdoor learning methods – but we’ll also work with partner organisations and scientists working in the field to broaden our capabilities.
Encompassing all aspects of the marine environment, the programme will also be fully aligned to the Curriculum for Excellence and supported by a comprehensive suite of resources and activities. Ensuring that these resources are widely accessible to groups and schools across the country, everything will be supported and available digitally, meaning that we can reach a wide number of children across Scotland and the UK.
Another key aim of our education programme will be to create an inclusive, blended approach to learning. There is nothing better than learning about nature whilst being surrounded by it, and exploring it first-hand ignites a fascination of the natural world that can often last a lifetime. The national marine centre will allow us to accommodate the learning needs of children and inspire the next generation of conservationists.
It is our duty to expose and educate our young people to nature as much as possible, and the national marine centre will open their minds to a vast and fascinating world.It is a chance for us to teach our children about the creatures below the waves and educate them on the major threats to the world’s oceans which are dramatically affecting our planet. The national marine centre’s programmes and attractions will provide a memorable learning experience shaping minds, influencing attitudes, changing behaviours and helping to save our ‘blue planet’ for future generations.
Andrew Grieveson, Education Officer, Scottish Seabird Centre