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WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...

Sea, Cetaceans, Saltire – Volunteering with WDC Shorewatch…

Growing up beside the sea meant that the beach was and still is my favourite place to be. I was always fascinated by the little beasties that lived in the rock pools and nibbled at your toes when you went paddling and I would quite happily spend hours turning over rocks and gazing out to sea hoping to see something bigger…something dolphin like. The fascination with dolphins lead to my parents adopting one of the WDC dolphins (Rainbow) for me for my tenth birthday and in turn this lead to my first dolphin sighting up at Chanonry point that summer. To say I was hooked would be an understatement!

I got involved with WDC as a Shorewatch Volunteer in Nairn in June 2012. I had just left school and was looking for something to do over the summer. I didn’t want to spend my last summer before university working full time so I started looking for voluntary positions. I spotted the Shorewatch training advert in our local paper, got in touch and got involved. After a move for university in September 2012, I now live and watch in the bottlenose dolphin capital of Scotland – Aberdeen – and love every minute of it.

Abigail dolphin watching at Torry Battery

Wind back a few months and in early 2012 I was introduced to the Saltire award scheme. Saltire is a Scottish Government initiative to encourage young people between the ages of 12 and 25 to volunteer in their local communities. I would encourage any young volunteers to sign up for Saltire, it is a great way to keep track of what you are doing and get recognition for your excellent contributions! In September 2015 I achieved my 500 hour award for hours undertaken between 2009 and 2015 with various organisations including WDC.

Through volunteering with WDC I have been able to do something I love at a time that works in with my studies and I have learnt a lot doing it. I have met some brilliant people and have had an immense amount of fun working with the other volunteers. The amazement in the eyes of the children we speak to, in Aberdeen especially, when they see dolphins leap out of the water is a feeling that will never get old. I will never forget the first time I saw dolphins bow ride out on a boat, to say I got a little bit excited and got a few weird looks from passers-by would be an understatement. I think it is fair to say that volunteering with WDC has become a part of my life which I really enjoy and as long as I live by the sea…or remotely near it, I will continue watching for the smallest hint of a tail or a fin…

Images copyright Abigail Hay

Saltire volunteering award