Volunteer

Volunteer

If you love spending time by the sea and want to become involved in our marine conservation work then join our Living Seas team. 

Living Seas Volunteers © Laura Evans

12,000 volunteer hours since 2018
190 volunteers

Saving our seas. Together.

From shoresearch surveys to beach cleans and marine mammal watches there are an exciting range of activities for you to become involved with. We’re also looking for volunteers to help with engagement events and collecting marine memories.

You don’t need a background in science to become involved! Training and support is provided by our Living Seas staff and volunteer team.

Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity for you to experience Wales’ amazing marine life, meet new people, inspire others to value the sea and contribute towards marine conservation. Spending more time outdoors through volunteering can also increase your health and well-being.

Register as a volunteer in your area
 

North Wales

South & West Wales

Become a Living Seas Champion

Living Seas Champions play a key role within the team. They are advocates for Welsh marine wildlife and help us organise, co-ordinate and deliver events, surveys and activities.

Join a beach clean

Join in our army of volunteers who aim to remove as much plastic pollution from shores all year round.

Beach cleaning © Living Seas Wales

Share your passion

Tell others about what you love! We're always looking for people to help enthuse others through our events and activities.

Roadshow © Heidi Thomas

Become a Citizen Scientist

Help us record and monitor coastal and marine wildlife. From marine mammals to molluscs we undertake a range of different surveys.

Read what our Living Seas Champions think of the work they do

Our Living Seas Champions are an integral part of our Living Seas team. Their experience, skills, enthusiasm and determination is vital for our work. We've asked a few of them what they think about what they do with us. Here's what they've been saying .....................

Gina Mills

Gina Shoresearch Rhosneigr Mar 2021

Gina Shoresearch Rhosneigr Mar 2021

How did you get involved with the North Wales Wildlife Trust? 

As a newly retired scientist with time on my hands, I approached NWWT about volunteering opportunities – something I had been planning to do once I retired.  

 

Has working within a team at events/activities been of value to you personally? 

I’ve really enjoyed working with NWWT staff and other volunteers on marine activities.  I’ve gained new friends with shared interests and feel a strong sense of being part of a team of like-minded people.

A strong team of NWWT volunteers has been brought together under this project with many marine conservation activities taking place, and it would be great to see it continue.

 

How has working with the Marine Advisory Group helped you understand Marine Conservation in action? 

Whilst I have professional experience of working in an advisory role at a larger geographical scale, through my role in the Marine Advisory Group (MAG), I’ve learned a great deal about marine conservation at the local scale.  The broad range of expertise that MAG members bring to the group has led to many interesting discussions and shared policy-related conservation activities. 

 

Have you experienced something you weren’t expecting from volunteering with Living Seas Wales? 

I’ve found it very stimulating that whatever the activity (from counting organisms on the shore to chairing MAG meetings), I’m always learning new and fascinating facts.   

 

If you could take one person out on the shore (alive or dead), who would it be – and why? 

I would take my Mum who sadly passed away a few years ago. She was the first to show me the fascinating animals found on rocky shores when I was a child and would have loved to hear all about the lives of the animals and seaweeds. My Mum lived over 100 miles from the sea and didn’t have the opportunity of joining anything like this. She would have loved to have done though if she could…   

 

How will you continue helping with marine conservation in the future? 

Yes, definitely! I will continue to join the shore surveys, participate in MAG and other activities as Living Seas hopefully moves into the next phase.  A strong team of NWWT volunteers has been brought together under this project with many marine conservation activities taking place, and it would be great to see it continue.

 

Paul Board

Paul Shoresearch Penrhyn Bay Mar 2021

Paul Shoresearch Penrhyn Bay Mar 2021

Every day’s a school day! Who knew that there is a British starfish called a Bloody Henry? Bloody Henry!

 

How did you get involved with the North Wales Wildlife Trust? 

 

Through Anna Griffiths who was instrumental in me getting to know and monitor our local and growing Atlantic Grey Seal population and has now become a good friend.

 

Has working with Living Seas Wales enhanced your knowledge of the coast?  

 

Very much so but still a lot to learn. Every day’s a school day! Who knew that there is a British starfish called a Bloody Henry? Bloody Henry! Growing old is compulsory. Growing up isn’t.

 

When you’re explaining what you know to others what’s been your favourite fact to impart?  

 

The potential positive impact of our offshore windfarm on the local seal population (apart from the switch from fossil fuels). I’d love to see more scientific evidence, particularly as our windfarm looks set to expand (given all the consultations).

 

Have you experienced something you weren’t expecting from volunteering with Living Seas Wales? 

 

How important Thermos Flasks are! I love my soup in the colder months! Having worked in Norway for many years (including an amazing time in Svalbard in the Arctic), I also now fully appreciate their saying that there is no such thing as bad weather. Just the wrong clothing.

 

If you could take one person out on the shore (alive or dead), who would it be – and why? 

 

Sorry can’t choose one! My two granddaughters Alice (2 years old) and Kiki (6 months old) who both live in landlocked Leeds and we haven’t seen in person for months due to COVID. I collected sea shells with Alice at Colwyn Bay beach in August and she now has them in a coffee tin and calls them ‘Granddad’s Shells.’ Very self-indulgently we called one of our local seal pups ‘Alice’ when it was born the same month and year as her (September 2018).

 

How will you continue helping with marine conservation in the future? 

 

Continued sea mammal monitoring (seals, and cetaceans when COVID allows), reducing my personal environmental and plastic impact at source (i.e. at home) and beach litter-picking. And continuing with my relatively recent passion of wildlife photography and sharing with friends and fellow volunteers. A passion awoken after I had cataract surgery in both eyes a few years ago (and by my award-winning photographer brother Nick)-the transformation to my vision was stunning and I still feel very fortunate to have had such surgery. I now have better eyesight than I ever have (I was myopic from childhood onwards). Not everything gets worse with age!

 

Ruth Yapp

Ruth Yapp LS champ weekend seawaching

Ruth Yapp LS champ weekend seawaching

How did you get involved with the North Wales Wildlife Trust? 

I attended the Bioblitz event at Cemlyn and met a few of the NWWT staff. Whilst chatting with Ben, my marine background came up and he suggested I talk to Dawn with the Living Seas team as they might be able to use my skills. I went to speak to Dawn, and the rest is history! (btw, that was the day I decided I wanted to be a Cemlyn Warden – a dream that actually came true!!). 

working with new people, all like-minded and positive, who want to make a difference has been very inspiring.

 

Has working within a team at events/activities been of value to you personally? 

I have been used to working in teams throughout my career. However, working with new people, all like-minded and positive, who want to make a difference has been very inspiring. It has also been great being able to learn from each other.

 

When you’re explaining what you know to others, what’s been your favourite fact to impart?  

There are so many! I do like the gory ones though. During the Living Seas Road Show, it was fun to tell families about the feeding habits of the Dogwhelk, Nucella lapillus – they bore through the shell of their prey and secrete enyzmes to turn the guts into ‘soup’ that they can then suck out of the shell! I don’t think people expect such interesting behaviour from a ‘snail’!

 

Have you experienced something you weren’t expecting from volunteering with Living Seas Wales? 

I started volunteering to spend more time outdoors and do something to try and make a difference. Living Seas Wales has been so much more. It has opened my eyes to the benefits of volunteering, and motivated me to volunteer with other organisations too. I’ve made new friends and gained skills and experience that have enabled me to change career in difficult circumstances, and hopefully I have been able to help others in the same way. I am so grateful for all this and for the support of the team, including all the other volunteers – thank you all!

 

If you could take one person out on the shore (alive or dead), who would it be – and why? 

I think I would have to be awkward and choose two people – two of my ‘nieces’. They absolutely love learning about the marine world and that makes me very happy.

 

How will you continue helping with marine conservation in the future? 

By helping to educate people where I can, continuing to volunteer, keeping up with my own beach cleans, reporting any unusual/invasive species sightings, being a conscious consumer – whatever I can do!

 

 

Anna Griffiths

Anna nurdle hunting Living Seas Champion Weekender - Rhoscolyn

Anna nurdle hunting Living Seas Champion Weekender - Rhoscolyn

How did you get involved with the North Wales Wildlife Trust? 

I have always been interested in doing whatever I can to help wildlife. 

Once I had a second hip replacement (I have a type of inflammatory arthritis), I decided to leave my job to focus on improving my health and to preserve my mobility as much as possible.

Helping as a volunteer on NWWT reserves and also with the Living Seas Team has enabled me to help wildlife whilst also improving my fitness and wellbeing.

It is rewarding and satisfying to see both happy seals and happy people.

 

What is it about watching the seals that you like so much? 

I am fortunate to have a site near my home that is popular with grey seals.

I feel very privileged to be able to observe them getting on with the soap opera of their daily lives – breeding, pupping, fighting, moulting, sleeping (they do a lot of that!).

We have a small team of dedicated volunteers and, with the support of The Living Seas Team at North Wales Wildlife Trust, we try to ensure that visitors enjoy the seals whilst also improving the safety of the site for the seals by raising awareness and reducing disturbance. It is rewarding and satisfying to see both happy seals and happy people.

 

3.What are your top seal-watching tips? 

 

My top tip for seal-watching would be to invest in a pair of binoculars, if you don’t already have a pair.  This will enhance your seal-watching experience whilst minimising disturbance to the seals.

 

Keeping at a distance is the most important thing to remember, whether you or the seals are on the sea or land.

 

4.What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened while you’ve been seal-watching? 

 

We have a female who has had a pup at the site every year since we began monitoring the seals more formally 5 years ago and she may well have been pupping there prior to that.

Last year she very sadly lost her pup.  We were worried that she may not return this year, so we were absolutely thrilled and just a bit emotional when she did appear and had her pup there again in September – the first pup of the season.  We were relieved that all went smoothly and the pup reached the weaning stage successfully.

 

5.If you could take one person out seal-watching, who would it be – and why? 

 

That’s a difficult question as I would choose different people for different reasons. However if I had to choose one I will say Sue Sayer of the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust.  From gathering observations of grey seals that visit the Cornish coast they are now able to identify individual seals from their pelage (each seal has a unique set of markings). 

This is something we are keen to improve on so I would be able to pick up some advice and tips.

 

How will you continue helping with marine conservation in the future? 

 

I have learned a great deal from the Living Seas Team about the rich and diverse marine environment around our coast and about the many threats that it sadly faces.  I hope I can continue to increase my knowledge and will get involved in any way I can to help protect it.

 

 

Ann Wake and Allan Rowat

Ann and Al rockpool inspection Porth Cwyfan

Ann and Al rockpool inspection Porth Cwyfan

How did you start rockpooling with the Wildlife Trust?

Al: I was first invited by a friend to a ‘Picnic with a Porpoise’ event being run by the Trust’s Anglesey Branch. I realised the Trust were surveying rocky shores and needed help and so I’ve been with them ever since.   

 

What is it about rockpooling that you like so much?

Ann: It just never ceases to amaze me!  I never knew there were so many tiny creatures like nudibranchs [sea slugs], isopods, bryozoans, squirts and hydroids …

Al: I love taking other people out, too; looking at the way they smile and hearing them go “wow” as they see our wonderful marine wildlife – perhaps for the first time.

 

What are your top rockpooling tips?

Ann: Get yourself a good pair of wellies – because you WILL get wet! – and invest in some diver’s gloves to protect your hands from the barnacles.  Oh, and always check the tides before venturing out.

Al: Replace anything that you move, putting all overturned stones back the way they were found.  Each one is a little habitat of its own.

it was just like a city of marine life – all on just one rock! It was amazing

 

What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened while you’ve been rockpooling?

Ann: Turning over a rock and finding so many nudibranchs, molluscs, sponges, squirts, bryozoans, hydroids and algae that it was just like a city of marine life – all on just one rock! It was amazing – I would never have believed so many animals could live together in such a small space.

Al: Finding the stalked jellyfish Calvadosia campanulata on an Anglesey shore and then discovering that there had been no records for this from the island. If the record is formally accepted, it might even help protect their habitat from future development.

Ann: What about finding Doto coronata [a small species of sea slug], en masse, on a tiny, tiny piece of washed-up hydroid?  When we checked it under the microscope, there were at least 10 spawning!

Al: And did you know that another sea slug, Elysia viridis, uses chloroplasts for photosynthesis – I thought it was just a plant thing!

 

If you could take one person out rockpooling, who would it be – and why?

Ann: David Attenborough – I think it would be enlightening for everyone concerned.  Even he might learn something new!

Al: I can’t choose just one, so it’s the 3 Ds: Darwin, my Dad and David Attenborough.

 

How will you continue helping with marine conservation in the future?

Ann: I’d like to do more beach cleaning, especially nurdle hunting – I don’t know why, but that really has got me hooked.  

Paige Bentley

Paige inspecting sand pools, Llanbedrog

Paige inspecting sand pools, Llanbedrog

How did you get involved with the North Wales Wildlife Trust? 

Gosh- hard to remember as it’s so long ago now. I THINK it was through a university conservation group- we did a work party on one of the reserves.

 

Has volunteering with Living Seas Wales helped you in your career in conservation? 

Undoubtedly! I’ve gained so much from all the events, days, and knowledge that LSW offers. Not to mention experience of working with such a variety of people and in different places. The team has been amazing in getting me out and about to some fantastic locations, and given me the chance to broaden skills and develop new ones. It’s thanks to them that I got my first uk job and I couldn’t have done it without Dawn, Andy, Eve and Nia. I honestly am so grateful for all the amazing opportunities I’ve had with them, and how much I’ve learned and developed as a person. Not to mention self- confidence.

 

When you’re explaining what you know to others, what’s been your favourite fact to impart?  

Nurdle back story- what they are, how they get into our oceans, how they impact wildlife, and how destructive they are. That they absorb chemicals is also a favourite fact of mine. I lead a nurdle hunt while I was in Madagascar thanks to LSW and their work on tackling the pre-production plastic pellet family.

Oh, and I’ve learned of the joys of limpet stacking. It’s dangerously competitive. 

 

Have you experienced something you weren’t expecting from volunteering with Living Seas Wales? 

SO many things I could never have imagined. I attended my first conference in Glasgow thanks to LSW. I have also snorkelled over sea grass beds, learned an amazing game involving dog whelk egg cases and a bucket of icy water, and found the surprising fun in beach cleans when you’re on the hunt for the elusive lego pieces. I’ve also visited some incredible places in North Wales that I never even knew of. Oh, and I’ve learned of the joys of limpet stacking. It’s dangerously competitive.

 

If you could take one person out on the shore (alive or dead), who would it be – and why? 

I’d take Leo Baekeland- he invented Bakelite, the first fully synthetic plastic, meaning it contained no molecules found in nature. What a mistake that was! I’d want to convince him to change his career path to marine conservation. Or at least convince him that plastic needn’t be so indestructible.

 

How will you continue helping with marine conservation in the future? 

Keep finding ways of reducing my plastic consumption as much as possible, live a low-waste/re-use lifestyle, encourage family and friends to make changes, promote education of marine conservation, integrate marine issues and projects into my job role, have chats with people about the amazing flora and fauna our oceans have, speak up on marine issues with people I meet, and hopefully continue to do beach cleans and run surveys for as long as I can walk. And probably even after then. 

Clare and Charlie Welsh

Clare and Charlie beach cleaning Llandudno

Clare and Charlie beach cleaning Llandudno

How did you get involved with the North Wales Wildlife Trust?

We intended to join as a way of building our wildlife awareness of the area we had moved to. Meeting established seal volunteers helped to spur us on to joining.

 

What is it about time on the shore that you like so much?

Learning to spot and identify marine animals, shells etc. Learning how they live their lives in a marine environment.

We are also trying to encourage family and friends to do the same.

 

Has working with Living Seas helped you make changes to other aspects of your life?

It has made us re-evaluate our own use/need plastics in everyday life. We have a way to go but we have made some changes. We are also trying to encourage family and friends to do the same.

 

4. What’s the best factoid you’ve learnt about the coast?

Nudibranchs; who knew!

 

5. If you could take one person out on the shore (alive or dead), who would it be – and why?

Two answers (because there are two of us):

- Charlie’s Great Niece (currently 5 years old). Great opportunity to teach her about animals, the environment and beach cleaning. Hopefully, we could get her interested at an early age (and she would ask easier questions than Charles Darwin).

- Dawn Thomas: Because her knowledge and enthusiasm always make a day exploring a beach fun and informative!

 

6. How will you continue helping with marine conservation in the future?

Seal monitoring and contributing to shore search surveys. Raising public awareness of marine; wildlife, conservation and pollution. Beach cleans.