Project information

Hebridean Marine Explorers

HWDT’s education programme brings marine science to life, championing our vitally important Hebridean seas and encouraging outdoor and hands-on learning. We operate a multi-stage Hebridean Marine Explorer Programme for primary schools, including school visits, field trips and a floating classroom.

March 2019 - October 2019

Charity information: Hebridean Whale And Dolphin Trust

Hebridean Whale And Dolphin Trust logo
  • Need


    The future of our natural world relies on people. Finding ways to connect people to the environment, to encourage responsible and sustainable attitudes and behaviours, is vital for the conservation of biodiversity for future generations. Hebridean communities are intrinsically linked to the seas and the coast, which they share with a vast diversity of marine mammals. HWDT's 25 years of research has taught us much about these animals; we strive to share this knowledge to safeguard Scottish seas.


    Our education programme provides the knowledge necessary to empower people to take positive action to safeguard our marine environment. Sailing our floating classroom to remote parts of Scotland for students to engage in hands-on learning at the heart of their own community is memorable and inspiring. Young people joining our research trips become citizen scientists, learning skills for future careers in marine science during the experience of a lifetime. The result is powerful step-change.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To educate school-age children across the Hebrides within their own communities


    » Run two week-long floating classroom trips in 2019, bringing children onboard to learn about marine mammals and conservation
    » Offer land-based school sessions, including interactive workshops in the classroom, and learning how to look for marine mammals at nearby headlands

    What success will look like

    In 2019 we aim to engage roughly 300 pupils in floating classroom sessions and 150 pupils in land-based workshops

    Aim 2

    To educate the wider public about marine environmental and conservation issues


    » Public talks and events to engage people in our work, share our knowledge and encourage positive attitudes towards the environment
    » Welcome members of the public onboard our research vessel/floating classroom during open boat sessions across our survey area

    What success will look like

    We plan to reach around 500 members of the public as part of our wider outreach work, at talks, events and open boat sessions

    Aim 3

    Train young citizen scientists during research surveys at sea


    » Run youth trips for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, giving access to skills training, career options and an awesome experience

    What success will look like

    One youth trip will offer up to six opportunities for young people

  • Impact


    Achieving a step-change in the attitudes and behaviours of people towards the environment is vital for the long-term sustainable conservation of marine biodiversity. Young people, in particular those living in communities that are intrinsically linked through history and culture to the sea, are the future of our marine world. We gain insight into the effect of our work through feedback forms and questionnaires; we regularly hear of participants going on to pursue related courses and work.


    The weather occasionally disrupts our plans, but we have lots of experience in being flexible and reacting quickly to changing conditions, always putting safety first. We always have contingency plans in place.
    Success depends on organisational stability as a whole, for which we also have a robust operational strategy and diverse income streams.


    We will make use of our website, social media networks and email to communicate with our donors. The project will feature in our newsletter. We use phots and video to illustrate our story, and plan to use our drone for a new perspective in 2019.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Floating classroom School floating classroom sessions and open boats
      £3,000 Youth trip One youth trip for up to six young people
      £2,000 Land-based workshops Series of school visits, talks & events
  • Background


    HWDT is based in Tobermory, on the Hebridean Isle of Mull. We have been based here, at the heart of the Hebrides, since 1994. Our research area spans the whole of the Hebrides, and we aim to engage as many people from across this region as possible, as many of the communities are remote and somewhat isolated. A global audience can also be reached via our website and social media activity.


    The main beneficiaries are the young people directly engaged in the project activities, but also their teachers/leaders, parents/carers and members of the communities in which they live. The wider public are also engaged in the educational outreach events, including global beneficiaries online. And of course the marine animals that we strive to protect!

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    HWDT has a proven track record of delivering similar projects over the last 25 years. We have a sound understanding of the challenges faced by those living and working in the Hebrides. Our project staff are well qualified and experienced in developing, delivering and evaluating innovative and fun learning opportunities. We have a known demand for the aims of our project, and the activities we have planned, and have already demonstrated the success and impact of similar previous work.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    HWDT Community Engagement Staff

    Planning and delivering the project, from start to finish, with energy and enthusiasm throughout

    HWDT Boat Crew

    Ensuring the boat-based part of the project runs smoothly and safely

    Our Donors And Supporters

    Generously supporting this project