My name is Rachael Forster and I am the Community Wildlife Officer for ORCA in the North East. On Wednesday 25th March the new Wildlife Officer season will be starting on board DFDS King Seaways and there are some exciting new changes on the way! As well as being joined by Bay of Biscay Wildlife Officer Ruth Coxon, ORCA have also been given a larger on board Wildlife Centre.
For those of you who don’t know the ORCA Centre is a fun filled room of information and activities on the wonderful whale, dolphin and porpoise species that can be seen in the North Sea. Passengers can learn what creatures are beneath the waves and how they can get involved with their conservation. There are scheduled presentations and talks for passengers travelling between North Shields – Ijmuiden throughout the ORCA season (March 25th – September 23rd 2015) as well as family fun, arts and crafts.
Wildlife Officers last year engaged with over 7,000 passengers
The ORCA Your Seas programme is in its third year now, and since October last year, we have already engaged with over 3,000 individuals in the North East raising the awareness of what creatures they can find in the North Sea.
Pupil at Dame Allans during Dolphin Science Week in January
Here at ORCA we are very excited as not only will the wonderful Ruth Coxon be joining me this season as the Junior Wildlife Officer, but the new Wildlife Centre on deck 9 will be able to offer a new range of exciting and engaging activities for people of all ages.
As well as the onboard activities, I have enlisted the help of local partners and volunteers to bring a range of opportunities onshore for individuals to get involved and events to participate in throughout the Summer all around the North East. Read more about community events via the ORCA website.
On March 25th, ORCA and DFDS Seaways are holding a launch event on board the King Seaways as it is in port in North Shields, which will involve 30 students from Southridge first school coming to hear an talk from Scottish wildlife cameraman Doug Allan. Doug Allan is best known for his underwater photography in wildlife documentary’s including Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life, Human Planet and Frozen Planet.
Another guest will be local artist Rory McCann of North Sea Wildlife whose new addition to the ORCA Centre is a bespoke North Sea cetacean mural.
Rory grew up in a family of zoologists and adventurers, which fueled his great love of nature and the outdoors. His murals aim to show the great beauty and splendour of the natural world. It is his hope, that through the murals, he can engage a greater interest in wildlife and the outdoors and a greater inclination for people to care about and look after this most magical world.
Here is a sneak peak of the outline drawing.
The Wildlife Officer rotations will begin from this day and myself and Ruth will do 2 weeks onboard the King Seaways. I am very excited to be joining my new family on board the ship 🙂
Looking forward to the season and will keep you all up to date with each fin I spot!