For the third in our series of Bridgend County's Coastal Heroes we speak to Claire Godfrey from SeaQuest about the surprising wealth of wildlife to be found along Bridgend County's coastline.
What is the role of SeaQuest?
At SeaQuest Coastal Science and Discovery we are primarily marine educators, Science Discovery for everyone! Our aim is to educate local people about marine habitats and get them engaged with the local coastline. We want to take people who may not out marine habitats and get them engaged with the local coastline. We want to take people who may not think that science is a subject for them and help make it much more interesting. We believe that by getting people to love and appreciate the local coastline, they will want to help us preserve it.
Over the past three years we have been organising events and delivering outreach in schools across Bridgend County. During the summer months we spend a lot of time down at the beach, running themed beach days such as 'coastal ecology', which teaches people about coastal animals and life cycles, and 'coastal crusaders' which includes litter picking and an insight into how rubbish gets onto the beach.
SeaQuest has a varied events programme accessible for all, please take a look at www.harbourquarterporthcawl.co.uk/seaquest/ or facebook.com/HarboursideQuarterPorthcawl/
We're planning another bay swim for World Ocean Day in June and there are plans for a new 'Aquathon' that'll combine an ocean swim with a coastal run. We also run events alongside the Marine Conservation Society, RNLI and National Museum Wales.
We're also looking for volunteers to help us run our events. If you're interested in meeting likeminded people and learning about our coastal habitats email firstname.lastname@example.org
How did you get involved in the company?
I moved to Porthcawl from Shropshire, where I was a teacher. I've always loved the sea and Porthcawl struck me as having such a huge variety of natural resources. I was originally thinking about opening an aquarium but I saw a picture of the planned maritime centre in seaside news and contacted the team at Porthcawl Harbourside. I joined the other directors on a voluntary basis until 2013 when SeaQuest became operational thanks to the Coastal Community Fund.
What plans does SeaQuest have for the future?
The continued development of Porthcawl's Harbour Quarter will see a new SeaQuest Coastal Science and Discovery Centre hopefully opening around 2020. Until then we're looking to start running events from two temporary buildings on the harbour. We also have plans for a SeaQuest bus that will help us take kids to and from the coast.
Why is Bridgend such a great family-friendly accommodation?
As I mentioned, Porthcawl has some fantastic natural resources - there are seven beautiful beaches with the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes at one end and Kenfig National Nature Reserve at the other. On a sunny day you'll see surfers, swimmers and paddle boarders all making the most of the beautiful coastline.
There's also a great deal of wildlife including porpoise and common dolphins (who are the real show offs) - we'd eventually like to be able to offer boat trips out to see these in the wild. We're also home to moon and barrel jellyfish, starfish, crabs, flat fish and the honeycomb worm, a protected species.
What are your favourite coastal activities?
When I first moved here I did a lot of surfing, but now I focus on coastal running and swimming off sandy bay. I also like to spend time exploring the beaches and rock pools with my children.