Whale and dol­phin trust marks 20th an­niver­sary

The Oban Times - - News -

THIS year marks the 20th an­niver­sary of the He­bridean Whale and Dol­phin Trust (HWDT) oc­cu­py­ing 28 Main Street, Tober­mory.

Dur­ing this time, the space has changed sig­nif­i­cantly - from a bak­ery to of­fice spa­ces, from grass­roots in­ter­pre­ta­tion to an in­ter­ac­tive cen­tre, cham­pi­oning the con­ser­va­tion of whales and dol­phins.

The cen­tre is now an in­te­gral part of the Main Street land­scape and of­fers not only a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence for vis­it­ing tourists, but also an op­por­tu­nity for in­ter­ested lo­cals to con­nect with reg­u­lar events.

The cen­tre has cer­tainly come a long way, and is proud - in its 20th year - to of­fer a whole host of events and ac­tiv­i­ties for the lo­cal com­mu­nity, from af­ter-school clubs through­out the win­ter, to the up and com­ing evening sci­ence talks which start on May 18.

The evening lec­tures are a great chance to learn about the wildlife of Mull ev­ery Thurs­day through­out the sum­mer, as there are new guest speak­ers each week.

Daily ac­tiv­i­ties such as the whale watch work­shops and ex­cit­ing ‘bones box are’ a great way for fam­i­lies to bond and learn about the amaz­ing whales, dol­phins and por­poises that live on our doorstep. It is the per­fect ac­tiv­ity to set you up for an ad­ven­ture in the great out­doors.

HWDT has been ad­vanc­ing the un­der­stand­ing of lo­cal whale, dol­phin and por­poise pop­u­la­tions for nearly 25 years. The trust col­lects vis­ual and acous­tic data from aboard our re­search ves­sel Sil­urian, sur­vey­ing the length and breadth of the He­brides dur­ing mon­i­tor­ing ex­pe­di­tions last­ing seven to 12 days.

HWDT is not a cam­paign­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion, but analy­ses data and dis­sem­i­nates the re­sults to the wider pub­lic. HWDT en­cour­ages mem­bers of the pub­lic to re­port their sight­ings, con­tribut­ing to the base­line data now held on cetacean oc­cur­rence in the area.

If you spot a whale, dol­phin, por­poise or bask­ing shark, please re­port it to the trust, ei­ther on­line at hwdt.org or by pop­ping into the cen­tre.

An­other core ac­tiv­ity is out­reach and en­gage­ment - en­cour­ag­ing stew­ard­ship of the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment and pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren and adults to learn and de­velop their skills.

Dur­ing two weeks of the field sea­son, Sil­urian be­comes a float­ing class­room and wel­comes aboard school chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate in a range of fun ac­tiv­i­ties.

This month, the trust is vis­it­ing is­land schools on Skye. Class­room visits are also un­der­taken, with the cen­tre’s en­gage­ment team vis­it­ing lo­ca­tions all over the West Coast.

The He­bridean Whale and Dol­phin Cen­tre is the per­fect place to find out more. There are in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays, in­for­ma­tion about the dif­fer­ent species seen and news of what HWDT has learned about the spe­cific pop­u­la­tions.

Go along to join in on the evening sci­ence talks, sum­mer youth clubs and more. From the start of April, the He­bridean Whale and Dol­phin Cen­tre will be open seven days a week from 10.30am– 4.30pm. En­try into both the cen­tre and evening events is on a do­na­tion ba­sis. De­tails of the events planned for the sea­son will be made avail­able through HWDT.org, so­cial me­dia and posters dis­played on the is­land.

The He­bridean Whale Dol­phin Trust has a full pro­gramme of events planned for the com­ing sea­son.

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