Local residents and school children to become Thames Estuary champions

Essex Wildlife Trust launches two exciting projects to engage and connect communities with their local Estuary.

Two new projects funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will educate and engage local communities from Thurrock to Shoeburyness about the Thames Estuary.

Essex Wildlife Trust are leading on the projects, which include informative talks for adults and school children alongside training for local residents to become marine citizen scientists. Both projects will run throughout 2019 in North Thames communities, between Thurrock and Shoeburyness.

The first project will engage local children through focused educational programmes on marine conservation and fisheries. Essex Wildlife Trust’s education team will be delivering the programmes through assemblies, talks and tailored age-specific workshops. 

The local conservation charity has already visited Dilkes Academy, Herringham Primary, St. Thomas and East Tilbury Primary and will continue to deliver the school programmes from September. At the end of the project, around 4,000 local children will have been introduced to their local estuary and know more about the marine wildlife that lives within it, the local fisheries that use it and how they can help protect it.

Free talks will also be held for adults during August, presented by Essex Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Coordinator and local industry representatives. The next talks will be held on Friday 2 August, 11am – 1pm at Belfairs Woodland Centre in Leigh-on-Sea and Thursday 8 August, 11am – 1pm at Thurrock Thameside Nature Park in Stanford-le-Hope.

The second project will help increase our knowledge of which fish species are using our estuaries by training people in the area to become marine citizen scientists. Essex Wildlife Trust and Steve Colclough, from the Institute of Fisheries Management will train members of the local community about identification, survey techniques and sustainable fisheries. The results will provide valuable fish species data for the Thames Estuary and will build upon our knowledge of local fisheries, helping to inform future management.

Training will be split between classroom-based learning at Essex Wildlife Trust’s Belfairs Woodland Centre and outdoor survey practice on Two Tree Island nature reserve. The free training days are Wednesday 14 August, 10am – 4pm and Friday 16 August, 11am – 5pm.