End of project

Claude the hermit crab

Farewell from Claude!

We have been busy wrapping up the Making Waves Project, as the funding comes to end this month.  Our marine education work will continue though, so please see below for where to head for bookings and information.

We would like to thank everyone who has taken part and supported the project over the last three and a half years. It’s been a fantastic project to work on and we’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of lovely people along the way.

Hampshire & Isle of Wight
School coastal outreach
We will continue to offer school trips, Wild Beach sessions and teacher training at a limited number of coastal sites across the two counties going forward. For further details, including costs, please contact Dawn O’Malley: email marineeducation@hiwwt.org.uk or call 01489 774413.

Loans kits
Our marine loans kits will still be available to borrow in Hampshire for a small fee. There are 2 classroom and 2 beach kits for KS1&2, a secondary school beach kit and a beach clean kit. Contact Dawn to book any of these kits.

The classroom loans kit on the Isle of Wight will remain at the Learning  Resource Centre in Newport. Contact Helen Hiscock to book this kit.

Undersea Explorers copyright Matt DoggettUndersea Explorers
Undersea Explorers sessions are still on offer to schools in Hampshire. Please contact Dawn for details on charges and further information. We also plan to run a few family sessions, so keep an eye on our events listing for upcoming sessions.

School e-newsletter
We send out a termly e-newsletter to schools, with information on what we offer. If you would like to sign up to this e-newsletter, again contact Dawn!


Rockpooling at OvingdeanWild Beach
We will continue to offer Wild Beach training across Sussex.  Please see our website for further details.  If you would be interested in booking a Wild Beach programme or one off session for your class please contact Nikki Hills: nikkihills@sussexwt.org.uk or call our bookings officer on 01273 497561.  Please see our website for details on our coastal education programmes at Seven Sisters Country Park and Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

Marine loans kits
If you would like to borrow a classroom or beach loans kit for your class or youth group please contact Nikki Hills: nikkihills@sussexwt.org.uk for further information and charges.

Undersea Explorers
We have Undersea Explorer family events planned for 2016.  Please check our website for upcoming sessions.  We will also continue our Undersea Explorer outreach sessions at schools across Sussex.  Please contact Nikki Hills: nikkihills@sussexwt.org.uk for further information and charges.

Making Waves website
This website will continue to be accessible for the next 18 months, but we are moving the content onto the two Wildlife Trust websites: www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk and www.hiwwt.org.uk to help us keep the content up-to-date going forward.

The Marine Conservation Zone designation is process is still ongoing. If you are not already receiving updates on MCZ news, you can sign up here.

Marine Updates
You can find out what are marine team are up to by following us on Twitter:
@sussexseas  @HIWWTmarine

…and reading our blogs:

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Living Seas blog

Sussex Wildlife Trust blog

Nikki Hills and Polly Whyte
Making Waves Project Officers, May 2012 – October 2015

Wild Beach

The Making Waves team attended the European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) 2015 Conference in Crete.  As part of the conference we ran a one day Wild Beach workshop to share Wild Beach with marine educators from across Europe and the rest of the World.  17 conference delegates spent the day on the coast, exploring the beach and experiencing Wild Beach for themselves.

We built sandcastles…

Beach mountain competition

Made boats…

beach boat

& flew kites…

kite flying

Wild Beach takes the ethos of Forest School to the seaside and encourages outdoor play and child-led learning.   A typical Wild Beach setting is an area of beach, local to a school.   Regular visits to the site allows the children the opportunity to develop a sense of ownership of their local beach.

If you would like to find out more about Wild Beach and Wild Beach Training, then please contact Nikki: nikkihills@sussexwt.org.uk (Sussex) or Dawn: marineeducation@hiwwt.org.uk  (Hampshire & Isle of Wight).

Reflecting on wild times at Milton Locks

While having a bit of filing sort out and tidy up this week, I came across the photos from a Wild Beach school project I ran last term. I’m particularly proud of this project, so thought I would share a few highlights from it. The children featured below spent a morning or afternoon every week for six weeks at Milton Locks Nature Reserve, a 15 minute walk from their school in Portsmouth. They were offered a variety of activities to participate in aimed at getting them learning about nature, building their confidence, developing their skills and relationships. They could choose how they spent their time and were encouraged to come up with their own activity ideas and to take responsibility for their own safety.

???????????????????????????????Here are some photos of the six year olds having a wonderful time at one of the Trust’s smallest nature reserves and some insights into why we think the Wild Beach (Forest School) approach is a brilliant way for children to learn about their local coastal environment.

The value of making a sea monster trapMW150430 Moorings Way Infants FS at Milton Locks PW (10)
What’s going on here then? Well if you asked the children in this picture what they are up to, they would answer that they were making a sea monster trap. I have no doubt that this is exactly what they are doing, but I would also point out that they are making a lot of discoveries about the coastal environment in the process… They are finding different shells, seaweeds, isopods and parts of crabs. Some of the spire seashells are so tiny, they didn’t notice them until they’d got stuck into playing. They are discovering that if you dig below the mud you find clay. They are finding pieces of broken glass which have been weathered smooth by the environment. They are finding out what happens when you mix sand, mud and clay with water. They are listening to seabirds, smelling the sea air and noticing the tide coming in. They are working together as a team and learning that getting a bit dirty doesn’t matter.

Learning to flyMW150430 Moorings Way Infants FS at Milton Locks PW (5)
These two boys have discovered, not just that they can make a kite all by themselves, by that they can make a kite which flies really well.  They had to follow some instructions to make their kite, find a feather to hold the paper taut and practice tying knots, but they were motivated to listen, watch and learn. Now they are flying their kites, they are learning about the wind: what direction it is blowing in, that it doesn’t blow at a constant speed (there are quiet spells and gusts). They are looking up at the sky and perhaps spotting a plane or kestrel flying overhead and wondering what makes them fly. They are motivated to learn more.

Stuffing a scarecrowMoorings Way FS Penguin Class Wk 5 by Polly Whyte (15)
Proving once again that children’s imaginations outdo adults a hundred fold, this lad is using some equipment I brought along to build shelters to create a scarecrow. This involved a lot of problem solving, knot tying and hunting for some extra materials. In the process, he collected seaweed (to stuff the head), discovered that ants live in nests in the soil and spotted butterflies feeding on plant nectar.

What did the parents think?
I sent out some feedback forms to the parents of the children who participated in our Wild Beach programmes at Milton Locks. I was curious to know what they thought their child had got from the experience and if they had noticed any change in their child following the programme. Here are some examples of comments that came back :

“He has learnt about the environment and wildlife”

 “It was a great experience to really explore the local area and explore the nature/wildlife.”

 “She seems to have more confidence outdoors.”

Time in nature
I think the key value of the Wild Beach programmes was that the children were given time in nature to get to know it, feel confident about exploring it and the opportunity to make their own exciting discoveries. A recent survey found that the amount of time children spend outside has dropped by 50% in just one generation.  If we are going to reverse this worrying trend, we will need more  programmes like Forest School and Wild Beach to give the next generation their natural connection. If you have a child or a grandchild, you can help them get inspired by taking them outside to play in nature regularly. You don’t need lots of equipment or activity ideas (as you can see the children will help come up with these!), just take some time to let them discover nature.

Follow these links to find out more about our work:
In Hampshire & Isle of Wight:
Making a wild change campaign
Forest School and Wild Beach
Family events
Forest School training

In Sussex:
Forest School
Wild Beach Training
Family events

By Polly Whyte, Making Waves Project Officer (Hampshire & Isle of Wight)

We’re Celebrating National Marine Week!

Wild Beach

Wild Beach

National Marine Week, which runs from 25th July to 9th August, is our chance to celebrate our wonderful oceans.   We’ll be exploring the coastline by boat, partying like a pirate, and going wild at the beach.  To find out more about our Marine Week Events and how to get involved please see our Events page.

World Oceans Day – 8th June

short-snouted seahorse / Paul Naylor

short-snouted seahorse / Paul Naylor


Join people around the world to celebrate our wonderful oceans on the 8th June for World Oceans Day.  This year, the theme is Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet, with the focus on stopping plastic pollution in the ocean.



Plastic pollution….The problem is serious, but solvable

More than 8 million tons of plastic rubbish end up in the ocean every year, including millions of disposable bags.  An estimated 80% of the plastic rubbish in the ocean comes from people on land – carried out to the ocean by rivers, streams, and the wind.

Reducing the plastic we use and discard, is the first step to stopping this.  Together we can have a positive impact, reducing the amount of plastic rubbish in our seas.  Our collective efforts can send a clear message to others about reducing plastic trash in our ocean.   www.worldoceansday.org


harbour seal / Chas Spradbery

harbour seal / Chas Spradbery

Our seas around Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are home to some amazing wildlife including seals, seahorses, dolphins and cuttlefish.   So take a moment on Monday 8th June to celebrate.  You could take a walk along your local beach, wear blue for the day or take positive action and make a pledge to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean.  For more information and ideas see our Resources and Activities pages or download the Octonauts World Oceans Day colouring sheet WOD2015_colourpromise.

We’ll be celebrating on Sunday 7th June with a Beach Clean at Hurst Spit and on Thursday 11th June with a Wildlife Watching Boat Trip in Chichester Harbour.   Visit our Events page for more information.

Wild Beach Club at Hurst Spit

Wild Beach Club is an after school club for 7-11 year olds which meets on Hurst Spit every Thursday in the summer term. Here’s what happened in Week 2 of Wild Beach Club:

If you would like to come along to Wild Beach Club, please contact Dawn Morgan on 01489 774413 or email: wildlifewatch@hiwwt.org.uk

Your chance to help protect our seas

Your chance to help protect our seas

Wild and windy walks by the sea, finding that ‘enormous’ crab under a rock, tucking into tasty seafood, building a whole kingdom of sandcastles, eating delicious ice-cream, that ‘refreshing’ first swim of the year… we enjoy the seaside in lots of different ways and for many of us it holds wonderful memories.  You have an opportunity now to help protect our seas.

short-snouted seahorse / Paul Naylor

short-snouted seahorse / Paul Naylor

The Government is asking you whether they should protect our precious ocean wildlife, geology and heritage in special Marine Conservation Zones off local shores.

You have until 24th April to respond to the consultation on the designation of 23 new Marine Conservation Zones around England, including four sites off the coast off Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. These are a vital part of the network of sites we need to restore our seas to health.

You don’t need to be a scientist or a fisherman to write a letter in this consultation; the government want to know what the general public think about protecting our seas. So, just write in your own words why the sea is important to you. You can have your say on the Wildlife Trust website.

Underwater Photography Awards

I had a pretty special Valentine’s Day this year, but perhaps not for reason that you might guess… On Saturday 14th February, the winners of the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2015 Competition were announced and I was really chuffed to come runner up in the ‘British Waters Compact’ category with this picture of a pair of hermit crabs.

hermit crabs copyright Polly Whyte

hermit crabs copyright Polly Whyte

The good news didn’t stop there, because four other of my images were also commended or highly commended in this category (shown below). This is the first major photography competition I’ve ever entered, so I’m really encouraged by this result. I’m also pleased to be able to showcase images of some of our wonderful British marine wildlife. I hope it will encourage more people to try snorkelling or diving in the U.K. Find out more about the awards and see all the winning pictures on the Underwater Photographer of the Year website.

sea hare copyright Polly Whyte

sea hare copyright Polly Whyte

moon jellyfish copyright Polly Whyte

moon jellyfish copyright Polly Whyte






tompot blenny copyright Polly Whyte

tompot blenny copyright Polly Whyte


jewel anemones copyright Polly Whyte

jewel anemones copyright Polly Whyte













So, it wasn’t your typical Valentine’s Day, but I did get to spend it with my other half, Matt. He also entered this competition and won the ‘British Waters Wide Angle’ category with a photo of gannets diving underwater, came runner up in the ‘British Waters Macro’ category, plus was named British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2015! We had a lot to celebrate. If there are any underwater photographers reading this, who didn’t enter this year, why not have a go  next year? You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised like I was.

– Polly Whyte, Making Waves Project Officer
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

An unusual find…

Ray egg case - Brighton BeachOn Wednesday 14th January we teamed up with Brighton SEA LIFE to deliver a fun and educational day for local children.  The group were given the opportunity to discover and learn about local and worldwide marine life, in particular the great predators of the ocean.  The day included a trip to the beach to hunt for clues that these predators are living in our seas, such egg cases of sharks and rays and cuttlebones from Cuttlefish.  During their time on the beach the group found a variety of egg cases from the Thornback Ray, Undulate Ray and Catshark.  They also discovered a very unusual egg case of an Undulate Ray that was about twice the normal length.

The winter can be a great time to get out onto your local beach to see what’s been washed up in the last storm.  Just remember to check the weather and tides before you go.  If you find anything unusual or interesting on the beach don’t forget to let us know by posting it in our Beach Treasures Gallery.