ALMOST 1,100 people visited the NAFC Marine Centre’s “Seas Around Us” project this summer. The figure, announced on Tuesday, confirms that this initiative is a firm favourite with schools, play groups, nursery and play schemes, as well as the general public.
Established to give local school children an appreciation of life in the seas around Shetland, as well as an insight into career opportunities in marine science, Seas Around Us is proving a resounding success.
Commenting on how well the project has been received, NAFC Marine Centre’s aquaculture development manager Kenny Gifford said: “We hosted three public open days this year in addition to the prearranged school visits. Each of these was very well attended with the final open day attracting just over 200 people.
“Many who visited on the last open day were Shetlanders home on holiday who really appreciated the opportunity for their children to see some of the sea creatures they themselves were familiar with whilst growing up in Shetland. Many said the project was better than some of the marine life facilities they had visited on the mainland, particularly the touchy feely tank.
“It was also good to see a lot of the school children who had already visited with their schools come back again with older and younger siblings and parents or grandparents. They were keen to show them around and tell them the names of fish and other sea creatures that they had learned about during a previous tour.
“We have a fantastic educational resource here and it’s a fun experience for both children and adults. We are grateful to Shetland Aquaculture Trust for the funding that allowed us to extend last year’s pilot project into 2008.”