Marine conservation has become a real passion of mine, and like any passion, it’s hard not to share it with others. My kids share their passions with me, and I share mine with them. I feel this is how learning really works. It’s just natural.
So whilst I have learnt all kinds of things recently about Fortnite, Dan TDM, Musical:ly, how to do various dance moves, how to increase my ‘dude’ rating and so forth (I’m on the bottom level incase you’re wondering!) It is equally natural for me to engage L & T in the kinds of things I love to do and learn about.
Last September I became involved with the Marine Conservation UK’s ‘Sea Champions’ volunteer program. It basically involves championing our seas in a variety of ways. MCSUK work alongside various other ocean charities and through them I began my volunteer journey training how to survey rocky shore species for ‘Capturing Our Coast’. I love doing it, and although we don’t live near the sea, we visit enough times in the year to feel like I can make a difference.
I have surveyed on my own a few times, but recently I took L&T along, and both of them took an interest. We took a 2 night trip to Portsmouth with the plan to carry out marine surveys and also visit the Historic Docks.
On day 1 we visited Eastney beach near Portsmouth University’s Institute of Marine Sciences. It isn’t a great beach for hanging out on, but is perfect for discovering rocky shore species. T got involved in the entire surveying process which involves many skills: researching tide times; measuring out a section of low tidal beach; using a quadrant; identifying environmental habitats; estimating and calculating seaweed/rock/species in percentages; identifying a variety of marine species.
I was very impressed with how fast he picked everything up and how much better he was than me at identifying marine animals. He was a genuine asset and has since expressed a wish to carry out further surveys another time.
L was also really interested in the marine animals we found. She would dip in and out of the survey, practising her Irish dancing further up the beach and intermittently coming to find out what we had discovered. Later, when we were reflecting on our day, she showed me all the photos she had taken of the beach. It seems the trip had been fruitful for all of us in different ways.
If you would like to get involved with marine conservation, here are three easy family friendly projects to try.
On day two we focused on the Historic Docks, which L&T have never seen. The tickets for everything were expensive and so we had to pick and choose a bit. We chose the 11 attraction ticket (book online for a big discount) which includes HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, action stations, boat trips and museums. It does not however include the Mary Rose, but we decided to do that another time.
Both L&T were interested in the history of both the HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. I was surprised by how much L already knew; though I shouldn’t have been since her ability to just absorb knowledge by osmosis has always been impressive!
The ‘Action Stations’ were a great physical release after all the history; they both loved the ‘Ninja Warrior’ course best, and found the revolving climbing wall fun but exhausting.
After a day at the docks, we went back to our budget hotel room and ordered pizza and chatted solidly from 6:30pm till 11:30pm when I fell asleep!
These trips are so special and they are my favourite part of home ed. We do quite a few day trips, and then one longer trip like this one each year. As L&T are getting older and they are becoming more independent, these trips are a great opportunity for solid quality time together with no other distractions. I love how a trip like this reminds me what fantastic learners they both are. They are so different in their learning styles, but both pretty amazing.
Learning is just human nature.