Aug01

Let’s hear it for the kids!

Categories // Bay of Biscay Wildlife Officer

Let’s hear it for the kids!

Find out how the next generation are being inspired about the wonders of the ocean on board the Cap Finistère! 

Hello again! Its Laura here, ready to round off our fourth month of this 2018 Wildlife Officer season! In my latest two week stint I’ve had to say goodbye to Alex, our first Wildlife Officer Placement, and hello to Emily, our latest addition. And between us we’ve had some great sightings of breaching beaked whales, pilot whales, seventeen rorquals, and a regular dose of dolphin activity…..but I’m going to leave it to Emily to tell you more about this next week!

Instead I wanted to talk a bit more about another aspect of our Wildlife Officer roles on board. Whilst we do love being out on deck, talking to the passengers and spotting wildlife, we also enjoy our more passenger focussed indoor activities. On the Cap Finistère we give daily presentations, host cetacean themed quizzes, and also organise a range of children’s activities in order to maximise the amount of time we can engage with our passengers.

Whilst we have been doing all of this since the season started in late March, recently it has become especially busy and energetic….and that’s because we are firmly within the summer holidays! Hordes of children are now joining us for our presentations, quizzes, kid’s activities and deck watches. And I for one am loving it! Teaching kids about the importance of cetacean conservation, how we can best protect these animals, and then helping them spot the animals for themselves, is one of the most rewarding things I have done in recent years.

During our kid’s activities in particular we have a range of games and activities we use to help further educate the children. We have a collection of models, which are a great way to help the children familiarise themselves with the shapes and colours of different animals, and our tape measure can be used to measure out the sizes of the different species we can see in Europe – children are always amazed at how big a blue whale is! When we have lots of excitable children with us we try to do a lot of movement-based activities (“lets be small like harbour porpoises…..big like blue whales…..follow the eldest female like pilot whales”). But for the quieter days we also have colouring and picture cards to keep the children engaged and inquisitive.

This week I wanted to do something a bit different to celebrate ORCA OceanWatch week, and during our kid’s activity on Monday morning, Emily and I endeavoured to get the children to spell out the word ORCA with their bodies. I think it worked quite well. It certainly got the parents talking, and many of the children later joined us on our afternoon deck watches, including Joshua and Katie! Katie signed up to our children’s membership (FinFriend) on the day and told me that she wants to speak to her teacher next year about making the classroom more eco-friendly, whilst Joshua informed his mother that he wanted to spend his summer holiday cleaning up all the beaches they went too! Seeing such a passion for the marine world in such young children makes all the work we do on board feel that much more worthwhile. These youngsters are the future and the best hope for us to make long-term changes to our single-use culture.

So if you’re reading this now, looking forward to your upcoming journey on the Cap Finistère, then please come and find us either in the bar or on deck 10, and we promise to turn your children into budding conservationists!

That’s it from me for now, I’ll be back on board in 2 weeks, just in time to catch the last few weeks of the summer holidays. Good luck to Heather and Emily!

Laura

Wildlife Officer – Bay of Biscay