The annual Coastwatch survey of Ireland’s shoreline is due to kick off this month which will see members of the public taking on the role of ‘citizen scientists’ to assess the health of our coastal habitats. If you enjoy walking on the beach and exploring rock pools why not get involved in this year’s survey? This is a great activity for families, wildlife enthusiasts, scouts or school groups to get involved in. New volunteers are always welcome and no special knowledge or skills are required – so grab your wellies and hit the beach!
A training event will take place in Silver Strand, Barna Co Galway on Tuesday 13th September at 10:00am led by local survey coordinators. Volunteers can get some hands-on practice at doing the shore survey and enjoy exploring the beautiful sea shore while contributing important information to this International project to monitor the state of our coastal environment. A second training day will be held on Saturday 1st October at 12 noon at Trá Mór, Inverin.
For the survey, volunteers are asked to survey a 500m stretch of shoreline at low tide and note down their findings on a special survey questionnaire. Information is collected on land and shore use, inflow water quality, presence of select plants and animals, waste, pollution and litter, and surveyors views on threats to the coast as well as special features to protect. The survey runs from September 15th to October 15th.
If you are interested in taking part simply go to www.coastwatch.org where you can download the survey questionnaire and guide notes. You can also use the Coastwatch Google map programme to help you select an area of shore to survey. After you have completed your survey, you can post the results directly to Coastwatch Ireland or enter them on the website. Photos and videos are also very welcome and feel free to share your story on the Coastwatch facebook page!
Elaine O’Riordan is the regional co-ordinator for County Galway. Contact 091 495921 or Elaine.firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr Kevin Lynch is the co-ordinator for Galway City 091 495779 or Kevin.email@example.com. Both are available to help with selecting sites or any local queries and to supply test kits for volunteers who wish to test the water quality on site. The national co-ordinator is Karin Dubsky mob 086 8111 684 firstname.lastname@example.org.