Guardians of the Deep – The project’s beginnings

When we last checked in with Guardians of the Deep we were thrilled to announce our success in securing a £446,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Our new Project Officer Zoë Stevenson explains what’s been happening since then, what the project is all about, and how you can get involved in helping your local coastline.

Guardians assemble!

The Guardians of the Deep project hit the ground running at the end of April with the arrival of the three new project officers.

Guardians of the Deep project team

Guardians of the Deep project team (left to right): Belinda - Medway & Swale Estuaries, including the Isle of Sheppey, Laura - Thanet coast: Whistable to Sandwhich, Zoë - Deal to Dymchurch

Belinda, Laura and I each have responsibility for a different section of the Kent coast, organising events and engaging people who live in those areas. In a few short months we have become BSAC registered snorkel instructors, held our first WildBeach sessions, held public rock pooling sessions and conducted biodiversity surveys at four different sites around Kent.

Guardians Of The Deep

We spent the Kent County Show weekend meeting the people of Kent and introducing them to the project, and were thrilled to win the trophy for Best Specialist Trade Stand. Everything’s off to a flying start and there’s still so much to come.

National Lottery Heritage Fund Logo

So, what's it all about?

The vision behind Guardians of the Deep is simple: by the end of 2019 we aim to have a self-sustaining network of people all around the Kent coast who are looking after it, using it as a teaching tool, and appreciating it for the unique resource it is.

We’re working to achieve these goals through five different areas:

  1. WildBeach
  2. Undersea Explorers
  3. Coastal Connections
  4. Coastal Guardians
  5. Coastal Citizen Science

WildBeach and Undersea Explorers are all about engaging children with marine wildlife and the underwater world. We use the beach or shore as a teaching resource for WildBeach and swimming pools for Undersea Explorers. They will get taught snorkel skills and why our Marine Conservation Zones are so important to the future of our oceans, whilst having fun in the environment they are learning about.

Wishfish - Kent County Show

 Coastal Connections focuses on connecting those who are further away from the coast with it. Throughout the project we will be running free family events on the coast, our Wish Fish will come with us to events, allowing people to make pledges to help the marine environment. We are creating a ‘woolly watery world’ from donated knitted and crocheted plants and animals. You can join in by downloading our latest knitting patterns here.

Coastal Guardians are our eyes and ears on the coast. Through a special training session, we equip anyone who wants to get involved with the necessary skills to report any information they are gathering from regular visits to the coast.

Coastal Citizen Science allows anyone interested to get involved with scientific studies around the Kent coast. The most common one of these is Shoresearch, a survey which monitors the diversity and distribution of plants and animals on our shores. But there are other things, such as litter surveys, invasive species control, and juvenile fish studies which people are able to get involved in.

How do I get involved?

South Swale Beach clean

Become a Coastal Guardian

If you would like to become a Coastal Guardian, please fill in our volunteer form and the project officer will get in touch with you about training opportunities.

Stay up-to-date with all our latest news and events, by liking our Facebook page and following us on Instagram.

With your help, we can keep the future of Kent’s marine life bright.

Become a Coastal Guardian

Want to learn more?

The Guardians of the Deep project is a partnership between Kent Wildlife Trust, Thanet District Council, Medway Swale Estuary Partnership and Kent County Council.