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Cutting it with citizen science – following a whale from the Caribbean to the Arctic via Scotland

Cutting it with citizen science – following a whale from the Caribbean to the Arctic via Scotland

Steve Truluck is a whale watching guide and skipper for Hebridean Whale Cruises, Gairloch, Scotland....
Conservation in action – working on an international stage to protect whales and dolphins

Conservation in action – working on an international stage to protect whales and dolphins

Unlike us humans, whales, dolphins and porpoises don’t entertain the concept of borders. For them...
Hope springs eternal for an end to whaling in Iceland

Hope springs eternal for an end to whaling in Iceland

As January morphs into February, my pleasure at the prospect of lengthening days and the...
The pingers and the porpoise – preventing deaths in fishing nets in Cornwall

The pingers and the porpoise – preventing deaths in fishing nets in Cornwall

When a porpoise or dolphin swims into a fishing net, rope or line, they can...
Putting whale and dolphin welfare on the agenda

Putting whale and dolphin welfare on the agenda

Every whale and dolphin is important. You know that, but in the past, conservationists have...
Christmas…how to get it wrapped without plastic

Christmas…how to get it wrapped without plastic

It’s that time of year again when there’s only one thing on most people’s minds...
Frozen waste – missed opportunity to address deep concerns over Norway’s ‘snorkel-with-orcas’ tours

Frozen waste – missed opportunity to address deep concerns over Norway’s ‘snorkel-with-orcas’ tours

Beats me why anyone would want to snorkel in the deep, dark ice-cold waters off...
Buying fish – can you ever be sure that dolphins haven’t suffered?

Buying fish – can you ever be sure that dolphins haven’t suffered?

In the future, dolphins, porpoises and whales won’t get caught in fishing gear – that’s...

Our lockdown home heroes

Like most charities, our fundraising events have been cancelled and, whilst we hope they’ll go ahead at a later date, the loss of income is considerable - we’re reliant on our supporters to help us continue to protect whales and dolphins wherever they need us.

So you may well have heard about the 2.6 Challenge. This inspired fundraising event was designed to help UK charities, like us, who have missed out on the funds our supporters would have raised at the London Marathon. 

What a fantastic idea I thought when it was unveiled - I’d love WDC to be part of such a brilliant initiative.

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It's not too late to be a lockdown hero and raise money to help whales and dolphins!

I wrestled with the decision: should I bother our supporters, who may be struggling themselves?  But, I figured, wouldn’t some want to be part of something amazing for whales and dolphins and have at least one positive memory of lockdown?

The past couple of weeks have shown me that I really shouldn’t have doubted! I’ve been genuinely touched by the overwhelmingly positive response and lovely comments left on our JustGiving page.   Some lovely people were pleased to be able to donate £2.60 while they can't afford more at the moment; others apologised for being unable to do a physical challenge but wanted to donate £26.20 nevertheless.

Daniella fundraised with her 26 hour readathon
Daniella fundraised with her 26 hour readathon

Who knew how creative you could be using 2.6 or 26 as your inspiration?  Our young Dolphin Defenders enthusiastically came up with some themed challenges. I’ve loved hearing about them, although I’m not sure parents will have enjoyed all of them! For example: listening to 26 Christmas songs on a loop all day (Lilian) - and it was a very hot April day!  Learning the names of 26 dolphin species off by heart (Isla) , drawing 26 dolphins, 26 sit-ups in front of your favourite orca toy (Skye) and roping Mum into a garden relay with 26 marine-themed toys (Molly).  One brilliant young lady (Millie) even bounced and spun for a dizzying 26 front flips on a trampoline.

Some of the conversations I’ve had on email have brought a lump to my throat such as the NHS key worker parents working on the frontline who still supported their child in her 2.6 Challenge.

Martin and Judy cycled 2.6 miles a day
Martin and Judy cycled 2.6 miles a day
Isla learnt the names of 26 whale and dolphin species
Isla learnt the names of 26 whale and dolphin species
Ruth learnt 26 capital cities for a test
Ruth learnt 26 capital cities for a test

And it’s not only our Dolphin Defenders who wholeheartedly embraced the 2.6 Challenge: adults did yoga and squats (Rachel), ran 2.6 miles a day for 10 days  (Sophia) or cycled 2.6 miles a day (Martin & Judy) . There was Daniella’s 26-hour readathon, learning all the capital cities of the world for a 26 question test via Zoom (Ruth) and even a 26 line poem on bottlenose dolphins and WDC - some great rhyming couplets from Catherine and John.

Unable to go dolphin-spotting, Sarah, one of our lovely Shorewatch volunteers danced 26 minutes every day for 10 days and our Scottish Dolphin Centre manager, who is currently on maternity leave, had a great time with a very giggly baby Tom doing 26 ‘reverse baby curls’ - nice one Ali.

And what did I do?  Well, amazed and inspired by all the marvellous ideas on JustGiving, I racked my brains - but there was really nothing I felt I could be sponsored to do.  Aha - that’s it I thought!  Anyone who knows me well, knows that I rarely sit still and do nothing. So, for 2.6 hours on 26th April, that’s exactly what I did - absolutely nothing: no yoga, Pilates or cycling, no walking the dog, reading, knitting, talking, eating, housework (yay!), decorating or baking - nothing!  Friends and family agreed it was probably the most difficult challenge I could have set myself and they loved it.

My challenge was to do nothing for 2.6 hours!
My challenge was to do nothing for 2.6 hours!

Finally, having survived my ‘lockdown within lockdown’ as I have come to call it,  as I write thank you cards and send certificates to all our superheroes, what will I take away from the 2.6 Challenge?   Firstly, our supporters are an amazing and inspiring bunch of people; secondly, everyone can do something to help whales and dolphins.

All over the country, charities are thanking supporters for providing the help that they so desperately need now, more than ever. The coronavirus pandemic has created lots of home heroes and I am proud to count WDC’s supporters amongst them, and I salute and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Want to do your bit?

It's not too late to take the 2.6 Challenge and raise money to help whales and dolphins.

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