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Aberdeen community rally together to help protect local marine life

Aberdeen volunteers turned out in force at the weekend at Torry Battery to take part in a beach clean to protect local marine wildlife as part of RSPB Scotland’s four-day Dolphinwatch Carnival.

Plastic bags, straws, fast food packaging, clothing and discarded metal were amongst the materials collected during the clean-up, which was organised by RSPB Scotland as part of its Dolphinwatch project. The initiative is co-funded by the ScottishPower Foundation and aims to engage people with marine wildlife conservation.

Over 3000 visits have been made to the coastal vantage point at Torry Battery since Dolphinwatch launched in May of this year to learn about and catch a glimpse of the harbour’s abundant wildlife. In addition to the sociable pods of bottlenose dolphins that regularly visit the harbour, visitors have been treated to sightings of ospreys, puffins and even minke and humpback whales in their natural habitat.

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Thanks to funding from the ScottishPower Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund, RSPB Scotland is now able to reach a wider audience through a year-round programme of activities. Come September, Dolphinwatch will turn its focus to inspiring and educating young people in the Aberdeen City community through a new school outreach programme. Pupils will be given the opportunity to take part in classroom sessions led by RSPB Scotland and trips to Torry Battery, where they’ll put their knowledge into practice and spot some of the incredible marine wildlife that is right on their doorstep.

Sadie Gorvett, Dolphinwatch Community Events Officer for RSPB Scotland said: “It’s great to see such an enthusiastic turn out for our Dolphinwatch beach clean and it shows that people are on board with protecting local wildlife. This weekend’s activities mark the end of our viewing programme for the season, which has celebrated how easy it is for local residents and visitors to the city to enjoy watching the local pods of bottlenose dolphins leap, play and surf the waves! We’re extremely grateful to the ScottishPower Foundation for supporting the initiative which is giving people in Aberdeen the chance to get involved with our conservation work and will help protect the area and its amazing wildlife.”

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Ann McKechin, Trustee and Executive Officer at the ScottishPower Foundation said: “The beach clean is a fantastic example of everyone coming together to help protect the habitats of the incredible wildlife that lives in this part of Scotland. We’re delighted to help support the RSPB Scotland Dolphinwatch programme and you can already see that it’s facilitating a deep community connection with marine wildlife. The ScottishPower Foundation is very much looking forward to seeing young people become inspired to look after as well as experience nature in the Aberdeen coastal area later in the year as part of the school engagement programme.”

This year the ScottishPower Foundation has donated more than £80,000 to RSPB Scotland for Dolphinwatch. This co-funding has facilitated the recruitment of two RSPB Scotland staff members to bring the Dolphinwatch project to life through various activities including 12 beach cleans, 10 school group visits, training 10 new volunteers and hosting 10 community events throughout the year.

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