Falmouth’s first marine conservation group, set up by a student from Falmouth Marine School (FMS), has been lauded for its impact in such a short space of time.
Marine Science student Meg Hayward-Smith launched Falmouth Marine Conservation in November 2016 and there are already 290 volunteers and 20 committee members.
Head of campus at FMS, Justin Olosunde, said Falmouth should be proud of the efforts of the Group and its positive impact on marine life in the area.
“It’s fantastic to see a young person with such energy and drive make such a valuable contribution to the area in which they study,” he continued.
“Falmouth Marine Conservation group is growing so rapidly and much of this is thanks to Meg’s passion and work ethic. The group is already making valuable contributions to Falmouth and its marine ecosystem, it truly is a huge success and Falmouth Marine School wishes Meg and the group all the best in their future endeavours.”
Whilst studying for a career in marine science, Meg was amazed that there wasn’t a conservation group already in place in Falmouth; so with the skills that she developed on her course, combined with her on drive and tenacity, she decided to set up her own.
Meg commented: “Falmouth is a beautiful area and has rich marine biodiversity which people come from far and wide to visit. With an increasing amount people visiting and living in the area it’s essential that we all work together to promote marine conservation.”
Falmouth Marine Conservation engages in many events surveys and campaigns. The group undertake numerous surveys and has currently been helping Natural England with mapping out Pacific oyster beds.
They have been engaging the local community by running sunset snorkel safaris, stand up paddle board coast cleans, shark egg case hunts for children, as well as working with local business to make them aware of their impact on the marine environment.
In addition, they have been running talks by local scientist inform and inspire as well as screening motivating films such as ‘A Plastic Ocean’, with 170 people in attendance at the Falmouth Poly feeling inspired to make a change.
“I started the group due to my passion for the ocean and what it holds and how conservation can support and protect these places,” Meg continued.
“However, conservation starts at home. Working in the local area, with a committed group of people will enable us to protect our marine environment.
“Oceans are crucial to our existence from the air we breathe to the food on our plate. However, due to the human impacts of pollution and unsustainable fishing methods it has caused detrimental effects. Therefore, it is vital, now more than ever, to get everyone involved in helping protect our ocean for future generations. I hope with the awareness raised, data gathered, and litter removed from our beaches, that the Falmouth Marine Conservation group can contribute to the global marine crisis by taking action on a local scale.”
Meg has received a great deal of support from the local community, conservation groups and organisations such as the Marine Biology Association, Marine Conservation Society, Helford Marine Conservation Group, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Your Shore Beach Rangers and Our Bright Future.
Marine Science Programme Manager Craig Baldwin said: “Meg has done incredibly well, not only has she engaged staff members and students at Falmouth Marine School but she has reached out to the local community and environmental organisations, ensuring that the society is a success for future generations.”
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