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A ’Peek’ at Spey bay

Hello everyone! My name is Holly and I am one of this year’s education volunteers at the Scottish Dolphin Centre, and very excited about it too! I thought I would just do a quick fire introduction, so not to bore you.

I graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a degree in zoology and had lots of fun doing so. I have always had a great passion for whales and dolphins ever since I was little, but my passion slightly faded at university as it was drilled into us it was near impossible to work with such charismatic species such as dolphins. When I got the call from WDC offering me the position I couldn’t quite believe it, so I am really looking forward to getting as much out of this opportunity as possible.

After university I went travelling to Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand was such a highlight for me, the country is just so beautiful and its range of wildlife and landscapes is jaw dropping. Whilst travelling I was lucky enough to see a range of wildlife but the highlight would have had to have been the Great White Sharks. Such calm and majestic animals, not at all what you would expect.

When I decided to come back home (A.K.A ran out of money and missed my dogs) I worked for my family business. I can proudly boast that my mum owns the Eureka café near Chester, the oldest cycling café in the world. When in the cafe I bake the cakes and pastries, which I do enjoy very much. I also worked as a volunteer for the RSPB Wildlife Explorers group at Conwy, which is what made me realised that I wanted to work in education. Working with kids is great and I absolutely love it when they get excited about wildlife.

My main motivation behind becoming an education volunteer with the WDC is to gain as many skills as possible to help with a career in wildlife education and quite selfishly to enjoy the beautiful area that I will be living in. Being able to see dolphins near enough every day is pretty awesome too. We have had many sightings at Spey Bay now, but I think each sighting will be filled with the same excitement I had when I first saw them… truly amazing.

Last week I visited many schools in Aberdeen, teaching all the children about MPAs (marine protected areas). We asked all the children we visited to draw ‘safe homes’ for whales and then showed the children what whale and dolphin homes are really like, highlighting the many threats they have to deal with day to day. We are going to show these drawings to the Scottish government to show how much children care for whales and dolphins, and hopefully this will secure MPAs around the Scottish coast. More information about the proposed MPAs will be available during the summer, however if you are a teacher and would like your class to be involved please follow this link. I really enjoyed my schools week and can’t wait for many more school visits.  One of my favourite quotes from the week was from a young boy from Kingswell Primary, a group of children were arguing about whether salmon was tasty or not and they decided to get my opinion on the matter. ‘Holly, do you like salmon?’ one young boy said to me ‘Well I’m what they call a vegetarian, do you know what that means?’ after about 10 seconds of silence the young boy said with a questionable look on his face ‘I’m a Christian???’. Kids are great.

Anyway that’s enough about me. I will just leave you with some lovely footage of a pod of common dolphins I had the great pleasure of meeting off the coast of Oban in September, this was taken whilst out looking for basking sharks with Basking Shark Scotland.