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New Funding for RSPB Dolphinwatch

Local schools and communities in Aberdeen to benefit

RSPB Scotland is going to take Dolphinwatch activities to schools and the community in Torry in Aberdeen over the next two years thanks to funding from the ScottishPower Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Over the last five years, RSPB Scotland has been raising the profile of Aberdeen as one of the best and most reliable places in Europe to see bottlenose dolphins while engaging people about marine habitats and the threats they face. Now new funding will allow the charity to take this message to a much wider audience with plans for schools outreach and year-round events.

Adam Ross from RSPB Scotland will be managing the project. He said: “Marine conservation is such an important topic and the more we can do to raise awareness among young people and local communities the better. We have some really exciting plans for the new staff and volunteers to get stuck into but for now I’d just like to say how grateful we are to the ScottishPower Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support.”

Ann McKechin, Trustee and Executive Officer at the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “Supporting the Dolphinwatch project in Aberdeen we believe will help to inspire a deep and lasting connection to marine wildlife and a passion to protect it.  We’ve been supporting the work of RSPB Scotland since 2014, and its dedication to inspiring a new generation to protect our natural world echoes the Foundation’s commitment to the advancement of environmental protection.  It is a shining example of the role that young people can play in protecting our planet for future generations.”

Lucy Casot, Head of HLF Scotland, said: “Our natural heritage is a most precious resource and, thanks to National Lottery players, HLF grants have helped to protect an amazing range of landscapes, habitats, and species of plants and animals. HLF is delighted to support Dolphinwatch that will stimulate people’s interest in the natural world and so help them conserve it for future generations.”

The importance of Aberdeen’s coastal waters is reinforced by Alex Kinninmonth, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Marine Policy Officer who said: “Aberdeen is absolutely steeped in maritime heritage and there's no better place to inspire people to care for the oceans. Torry Battery car park is now a hugely popular vantage point to watch bottlenose dolphins feeding, and this is just one example of the wonderful marine wildlife found just off these shores. However our coasts and seas are fragile and the declines in Scottish seabirds such as kittiwake and puffin are a stark reminder that we can't take their future health for granted."

Threats to marine species include climate change and pollution, for example plastic waste. The new funding will allow Dolphinwatch to involve more people in the community in how to mitigate these issues through recycling, voluntary beach cleans and increased awareness of human impacts on the environment.

As part of the project, RSPB Scotland is currently seeking a team of volunteers to support the project and gain new skills in a fun, social environment. Training will be provided to enhance volunteers’ knowledge of dolphins and other wildlife and develop skills in people engagement, wildlife surveying and running events. Information about how to get involved can be found on the RSPB website.

Dolphinwatch is a ScottishPower Foundation and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded project led by RSPB Scotland in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, Whale & Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and the Aberdeen Harbour Board.

People can keep up to date on Facebook or Twitter (#RSPBDolphinwatch). Dolphinwatch at Torry Battery will start on 11 May this year.

For further information, please contact: Kirsty Nutt, RSPB Scotland Communications Manager, on 01224 627869 or 07711 385595.

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