A Busy Few Days Ahead!

Our Coastal Warden Volunteers have a busy few days ahead with two beach cleans planned.

On Thursday 21st March, we will be working along the beach at St Lawrence Bay near Maldon.  Starting at 11am, we will be meeting outside the Stone Inn.  On Saturday 23rd March, we will be working at Harwich beach.  Again starting at 11am, we will meet at Wellington Road car park.  Do come along if you can.

Why is beach cleaning so important?

The litter washing up on our shores is not just unpleasant to look at, some of our best-loved marine wildlife is under threat from the waste and litter in our seas, with hundreds of species accidentally eating or becoming entangled in litter. Litter on our beaches is also hazardous to people so we all have a part to play in turning the tide on litter.  Over 170 species including seabirds, turtles and whales have mistaken marine litter for food and actually eaten it, which in many cases has resulted in starvation, poisoning and ultimately a slow, painful death.  Plastic packaging and discarded fishing nets also injure, entangle and drown some of Britain’s favourite marine animals, including seals and dolphins.

Balloons found on a recent beach clean in Essex. These pose a real threat to seabirds, turtles and cetaceans as well as terrestrial animals who mistake them for food.

Marine Conservation Society Beachwatch surveys have recorded a steady increase in the amount of beach litter since 1994. The four main sources of litter found on UK beaches come from the public, fishing, sanitary waste (particularly cotton bud sticks) and shipping.
Essex Coastal Wardens wants local communities to come down to their beaches and take
part in an event that will not only make the beach look great for visitors, but will also help us identify where the litter comes and try to stop it at source.   We pass all survey results to the MCS Beachwatch and results are vital in turning the tide on litter. They have helped influence changes to laws on the disposing of waste at sea, and resulted in investment in better sewage treatment at the coast. Local beach cleans like the ones at St Lawrence Bay & Harwich all help towards highlighting this serious issue.
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Free Training Course for Essex Coastal Wardens Launched

Do you love the coast?  Would you like to learn more about the wildlife of the Essex Coastline and how to protect it and improve the local area?  Are you interested in organising beach cleans & wildlife surveys?  If so, this is the course for you!

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TCV is searching for volunteers to become official Coastal Wardens, an opportunity which includes the chance to become actively involved in organising and running  activities in local communities as part of the Essex Coastal Warden Scheme

The scheme provides free training to volunteers in all of the skills required to organise Coastal Warden events including 6 one day sessions on coastal bird, flora and fauna identification, Shoresearch surveys and intertidal wildlife, map reading, first aid and project organisation as well as an introductory evening.  These are likely to take place at weekends and will include a mixture of classroom and practical sessions.

Ideally volunteers should be  willing to organise beach cleans and other similar events in their local area but the  training is open to anyone who is prepared to commit some time to make a difference to their local area of coast, by conducting surveys whilst out on their own or in small informal groups.  Volunteers won’t need any special skills to join the training other than plenty of enthusiasm and a willingness to get involved and have fun.

Two introductory evenings for potential volunteers to learn more about the scheme, taking place on Monday 4th March in Colchester from 7pm to 9pm and on Tuesday 5th March in South Woodham Ferrers from 7pm to 9pm. Places can be booked by contacting Emma on 01206 764470 or via email at e.webb@tcv.org.uk . “This is an exciting opportunity for volunteers to really become the eyes and ears of the coast and help to protect the wildlife and coastal habitats of Essex.  We really hope that local residents will feel encouraged to engage with and look after their local coastline and we will endeavour to give them all the training they need to be able to do this successfully” says Emma Webb, Essex Coastal Wardens Project Officer.

Essex County Councillor John Jowers, Cabinet Member for Communities and Planning said; “By the end of all the training, Coastal Wardens will have a greater understanding of different aspects of their coastal area, have met like-minded people and could be able to run their own events. The skills, knowledge and confidence gained through the scheme can benefit volunteers in many areas of their lives and it’s a fantastic scheme for people to get involved with.”

With more than 350 miles of coastline, Essex has one of the longest coastlines of any county in England.  In late 2012, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), working on behalf of Essex County Council, launched the Essex Coastal Wardens Scheme which is jointly funded by Essex County Council and the Interreg IV North Sea Region Programme through the County Council’s involvement in a European Project known as “SUSCOD”.

The scheme aims to engage local communities with their beaches and coastline through a range of exciting practical and educational volunteering activities.  These will help protect the wildlife and coastal habitats of Essex whilst enabling volunteers to learn about their local coastlines.  Wider coastal warden activities will include beach cleans and litter picks, a variety of habitat management tasks, coastal monitoring surveys and educational events.

All Essex Coastal Wardens training events will be free and run in a professional, but fun, friendly and positive way.  If you want to further information about the training courses or to book on an introductory evening, please contact the Essex Office on 01206 764470 or email e.webb@tcv.org.uk.

Essex Coastal Warden Volunteering Opportunities in February & March 2013!

The latest Essex Coastal Warden Volunteer Activites programme is now ready and we have a busy couple of months ahead with plenty of volunteering opportunities to keep you busy! We have beach cleans/litter picks taking place through out the county and some new footpath inspection walks which will incorporate a nature walk so do come along and find out more about our amazing coastline and the wildlife which resides here.

We are also launching the new Essex Coastal Wardens training programme which will be completely free of charge and open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the coastline and how to organise beach cleans or similar events in their local area. We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to organise beach cleans and other events in their local area. Two introductory meetings will be held in early March to introduce the training programme and the wildlife of the Essex coast. To whet your appetite, future training will include coastal bird identification, coastal flora & fauna, shoresearch surveys and intertidal wildlife, map reading, first aid and project organisation.

As always, it is recommended that you book onto any of our events so please do give the office a call on 01206 764470 for any futher information or to reserve a place.

FOr a copy of our VOlunteer Activity Programme please click here: CWS Programme Feb – Mar 2013