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Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Orca (ID171) breaches off the coast of Scotland © Steve Truluck.

Watching whales and dolphins in the wild can be life changing

Whales and dolphins are too intelligent, too large and too mobile to ever thrive in...

Scrap dolphins’ environmental message

About 18 months ago, we were approached by the coordinator of the Chippenham Children and Young People’s Parliament to ask if we might find a way of working together on a Chippenham-wide project. She had been inspired to make contact after her daughter’s school had received a visit from one of WDC’s volunteer speakers and couldn’t stop talking about it when she got home that afternoon.

The Parliament, which involves 21 schools representing 8000 children in the local area, has a number of priority issues that it works on, one of those being the environment. It made perfect sense for the two groups to work together with the topic of litter and how it makes its way into the marine environment being agreed upon as something relevant to both.

With the help of funding from Chippenham Borough Lands we set about giving a series of interactive assemblies and workshops at the schools. Along with artist Sonia Shomalzedeh (who gave her time for free) and volunteer Bernard Purrier, we worked with the schools to create large dolphin sculptures made from scrap material, and a group of children from the Parliament wrote articles for various magazine and websites to help raise awareness of the project. 

This week, the resulting pieces of artwork have gone on display in the town’s medieval Yelde Hall. The hall is open to the public from 10:30-3:30 Monday to Saturday, and the dolphins should be available to see until at least Monday 26th January.

Some of the children’s messaging and why they were inspired to get involved is also there for the public to see.  Messages such as:

‘Littering rivers and oceans is as bad as littering someone’s home…it can be fatal for some speices of sea life’ – Callum and Joel, Frogwell School

‘We chose to do this because we were concerned about the litter being thrown in the river and going out to sea. This can harm animals as they eat it’ – Jessica, Lacock Primary

‘Stop litter, save oceans’ – Megan, Redland Primary

‘We decorated dolphins using litter and created creatures on the dolphin to show that littering is bad and it can kill all of the creatures on land and in the ocean’ – Liam and Katie, Kington St Michael CE Primary

We know that children can influence adult behaviour, and that they will make a difference to the future of the planet and its oceans. The pupils of Chippenham want people to know that you don’t have to live by the sea to make that difference, and I think their enthusiasm, knowledge and creativity will win people over!

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.