We’ve come to the end of an amazing five years! The Your Shore Beach Rangers Project ends on the 31st of March 2021, and so the team has come together to celebrate their favourite moments and achievements.
The project has engaged with over 16000 young people around the county, and over 17,000 members of local communities. We have also helped establish 5 new marine conservation groups and supported the Your Shore Network to become the self-sufficient and mutually supporting group it is today!
We are sure that the 666 Beach Rangers who completed either Gold, Silver or Bronze with the Beach Rangers Academy will carry on using their environmental voices and go on to make amazing positive change in their communities and in the wider world. Young people from all sorts of backgrounds and circumstances have engaged with their local marine habitat thanks to the YSBR project and have inspired us just as much as we inspired them!
We can’t wait to see what this amazing new Cornish marine conservation community will do – you can rest assured all the team will be keeping up to date with what you’re up to and getting involved where we can!
The team want to share some of their highlights and memories from working on this fantastic project:
Jenn Sandiford, Youth Engagement Officer:
“I’ve had the absolute pleasure of being the Your Shore Beach Rangers’ Youth Engagement Officer for 4 years now, and I have loved every moment! When I look back over the 4 years, it’s hard to believe, firstly, how fast the time has gone (but they do say time flies when you’re having fun), secondly, how many amazing people I’ve met and thirdly, how much we’ve achieved together. It makes me so very proud. I just wanted to share with you my top 3 highlights from the project.
- An activity day with a school on the south coast of Cornwall. It was the second day with the school and when the groups arrived, it filled me with dread. They could not have seemed less thrilled to be there. We kicked off with a quick game to get us warmed up as the day went on, they were hard work but WOW what a group! Two of the group constantly asked me, “when we’d be getting in the sea?”. After a conversation with their FABULOUS teacher, she informed me that the students in question HAD NEVER BEEN IN THE OCEAN! We got them in that day, and they loved it. Images from that day are some of the most iconic moments captured from the project. This day was quite possibly my best day! It ended with high fives and smiles and lots of talk of how, for the students, it was the best day they’d ever had.
- A very intense day of snorkelling with a school on the south coast. This was a day of very quick turnaround snorkels, with several groups from the school. Luckily, I had MANY snorkel leaders with me as it soon became very apparent that the level of confidence in the students when it came to the sea ranged from not being able to swim AT ALL to fairly competent snorkelers. Honestly, this was one of the most tiring and most REWARDING days! A day when you really know the impact you’ve made and that you’ve been able to offer these young people an experience they’ve never had before is amazing. We overheard one student who was leaving the beach informing his friend who just arrived that it was “sick”, which is very high praise indeed.
- Knowing my one to one interaction made a difference. I met a young man whose parents had signed him up to one of my Radical Rockpool sessions. He was Autistic and his parents were unsure on whether he would like it. Long story short, HE LOVED IT! He was by my side for most of the first session as we explored the rocky outcrop at Hannefore, getting him used to his mask and chatting lots on the beach afterwards. From then on, he signed up to EVERY session he could, his parents were so great, buying him kit and bringing him to the beaches. By the end of that summer, he was very confident in the water and had been really helpful, assisting me in carrying my endless kit around. When I reflect on this, I know I made a lasting impression on him and I hope that he continues to snorkel whenever he can.
In summary, I’m so sad the project is ending. But what’s ace is that I’ve made so many links and memories literally doing the best job in the world (bar none!). And I’ve worked closely with the fabulous Your Shore Network groups around the county who can continue to work with the inspiring young people of Cornwall.”
Brender Willmott, Beach Ranger Academy Officer:
“Wow it’s been a rollercoaster year to end the project!! I have hugely mixed emotions right now as we approach the final week! I feel joyous about what we have achieved with the Beach Rangers Academy as I never in my wildest dreams envisaged us having 21,000+ people involved and 600+ certificated Beach Rangers. What I love is that we have interacted with and impacted so positively on them and that they will now drive the messages of engage, inspire, and protect through their careers. I am so proud to have developed the programme and watched it grow and to have worked with an amazing group of talented, skilled, and inspirational trainers who brought the initial ideas to life and delivered the programme with such passion. I can’t believe we were able to work with so many schools, colleges and educational organisations who allowed us time in their busy curricula to access so many young people for the benefit of the marine environment and their own futures. I’m so happy with what we achieved and that we have been recognised for the great work the team has done but that’s tinged with real sadness as it means saying farewell to so many special colleagues and Beach Rangers who are moving on to new and exciting things. But hey it’s not really goodbye; I’ll definitely be following all your adventures on Social Media and I’ll always be here if you need anything I can help with. So, keep on doing what you all do so well, be inspirational, make your voices heard and always be a force of positivity for the future of our coasts!”
Joanna Arvor, Community Engagement Officer:
“It has been an absolute privilege to work with the YSBR team to cover Jax’s role as Community Engagement Officer for the final three months of the project. I hit the ground running back on January 21 and in my first week I think I saw more of our volunteers via zoom than I saw my own family!
Immediately I was struck by the dedication and purpose of all involved in this project – the network of 17 wildlife and marine conservation groups around the county is a formidable force. When representatives from each group meet at the monthly network meetings, my goodness there is quite a sense of collective purpose.
I had some previous involvement with the project when I was working at the Trust managing Wildlife Watch, as Jax, Jenn and previously Nat collaborated with me for some wonderful wet and wild sessions with primary aged kids in Penzance and Bude. I thank them for their dedication and for giving me the event info 6 months in advance so I could reach my deadlines, which I know wasn’t always easy for them. I had also been very involved with the Polzeath Marine group for over 10 years so was familiar with the team’s incredible energy and encouragement at all times led by the awesome Abby Crosby.
I have enjoyed passing on some of my knowledge to the newer groups and wish St Ives and the relaunching St Agnes every success.
I love that the project, although finishing in March, leaves a fantastic legacy in the awesome work amongst the groups.
Thank you to everyone involved for giving me the incredible feeling of being part of something PHENOMINAL.”
We want to thank everyone who has engaged with the project for your incredible work, and we encourage you to reflect back too – look at all the amazing things we have achieved together!
And though the project may be finishing the work is far from over! The YSBR project is leaving an awesome legacy in the form of the Your Shore Network and young environmentalists all around the county, and there are still plenty of ways you can get involved and inspire people to help protect Cornwall’s precious marine environment.
For more information on the work we’ve done take a look the project video, made by Lewis Jefferies, which celebrates the last five years.
Head to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust website to find and get in touch with your local marine group! With them you can help collect data in citizen science projects, take part in beach cleans, and inspire others in your community to take action!
The Beach Rangers Academy training resources will be available on the Cornwall College Open Moodle for anyone to use. This means that you can carry on training Beach Rangers and inspiring the next generation of environmental voices in your own home, local school or youth groups!
We look forward to having you a part of the movement.