April Ranger Round Up
This month the Ranger team was joined by 4 current and recently graduated University of Plymouth students as part of their ‘Mirco Intern’ programme. Coming from a range of different disciplines; they took part in lots of activities from seaweed surveys, developing public engagement events and public consultation discussions, to working with our marketing and communications officer Jess as well as getting an insight into the governance of the NMP project from the awesome Klara.
We enjoyed getting to know them, and it was great to share ideas and have their perspectives on the varied elements of the NMP as well as hear the things that they loved about Plymouth, Plymouth Sound, and its coastline. Keep your eyes peeled for the blogs that they wrote for us, and you can read the first instalment from Lizzie on the website now.
April has seen the start of our programme of school assemblies developed in partnership with the RNLI. We have been introducing children to the National Marine Park, the amazing things you can do and see there, and how to be safe in and around water. Using the RNLI’s key messaging of ‘Stop and Think’, ‘Stay Together’, ‘Float’ and ‘Call 999’ we have spoken to over 1000 children. We helped them understand what to do if they get into trouble or see someone else in trouble, and to think about some of the issues they might find that are more specific to Plymouth’s blue spaces as well as those beaches and spaces that have lifeguards present.
These have been great fun and the pupils have had some great answers to our questions and some really good ones of their own. We were able to direct them to the other specific classroom sessions that are offered by the RNLI’s amazing education team and we are looking forward to the rest of the sessions that we have planned over the next couple of months.
Throughout April we also joined some of Plymouth’s PSCOs on patrol along the waterfront and other local areas. This joint patrol allowed us to learn what each of our roles involve, the work that they have carried out in the community and how we can support one another. We had a great and insightful discussion with the Deputy King’s Harbour Master and some of the rest of the team about what responsibilities they have and it provided clarity on some issues we have been asked about by people in the community.
During the Easter holidays, the rangers visited Central Library and took over another one of their ‘Tall Tales’ sessions, reading marine-themed stories, doing activities, and talking about all things NMP. We had a lovely, if not slightly wet, art session with Jayne Ashenbury Art at Jennycliff. A fantastic group of friendly artists, some total beginners and others a little more practiced turned their hands to watercolours. After the first hour the skies opened so we all ran into Jennycliff Café to warm up with a hot drink and a bite to eat, before returning outside to keep painting the stunning views from the cliff top.
Plymouth Hope at Mount Batten
The Coastal Ranger team has organised a couple of events over the past year with Plymouth Hope, a local charity that focuses on helping refugees and asylum seekers. This month, Head Ranger Sam, organised a trip to Mount Batten for the Plymouth Hope Men’s group. 13 members of the group met up and took the Mount Batten ferry across the Cattewater. The Mount Batten Centre had given the group access to the tower and they were able to learn some of the history of the area whilst taking in the fantastic views across Plymouth Sound NMP. Afterwards, the group headed to the beach and enjoyed a picnic whilst also getting the opportunity to explore some of the rockpools before catching the ferry back to the Barbican. The group really enjoyed the trip. For all of them it was their first time visiting Mount Batten and they all appreciated the opportunity to discover a new part of the city that they have found themselves in. After months spent indoors in temporary accommodation waiting for decisions on asylum applications the opportunity to be outside and explore a new place was very beneficial for the wellbeing of all involved.
Mount Batten Tower opening
Built heritage is an intrinsic part of Plymouth Sound National Marine Park. This month, we trialed volunteering at the Mount Batten Centre to open Mount Batten Tower to the public with our amazing team of volunteers. Neither of our two NMP volunteers, Julian and Miriam, had ever been up the tower before and were first to see the amazing views of Plymouth Sound from the top.
Julian was particularly interested in helping open the tower because his father was stationed at RAF Mount Batten for much of his life. Julian’s connection to the tower really highlighted to Ranger Nick how important history is to our culture here in Plymouth. We are proud at the National Marine Park to be helping more people discover or rediscover this connection with the heritage of Plymouth Sound by exploring and understanding the lives that came before us. Over 120 people visited the tower over the 4 hours it was open, learning about this fascinating part of Plymouth’s rich environmental, historical and cultural past.