Ocean health: a royal concern


His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall met Lucy Hunt, Volvo Ocean Race Education Programme Manager, to discuss Ocean health.

The Royal couple met Lucy, who also runs Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre, in Waterville, Co Kerry, Ireland whilst visiting the country.

During the visit, Lucy was able to talk to them about the problems of plastic pollution in the Ocean and how the Volvo Ocean Race Education Programme is being used globally to educate children on the issues and solutions to this crisis.

In a recent speech at the Volvo Ocean Race Ocean Summit in Cardiff, Prince Charles talked about the threat plastic is having on our oceans and how the work of organisations, such as the Volvo Ocean Race, are highlighting this ‘plastic plague’ and the solutions to it.

Lucy said: “It was fantastic that HRH was able to experience our work here. As an ambassador for the ocean he is helping raise awareness of ocean health and the important role education has to play in promoting ocean conservation. I really enjoyed speaking with him about a serious subject that is close to both our hearts.”

Alongside Lucy, the Royal couple visited Derrynane beach where they also met team Vestas 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Manager, and local resident, Damian Foxall, who talked to them about the Race’s work to reduce their environmental footprint.

Damian and Mairéad O'Donovan, Volvo Ocean Race, Science & Education Programme Assistant, conducted a workshop for local schoolchildren with assistance from Wisdom, the Volvo Ocean Race Education Programme mascot.

The kids spent some time sieving for microplastics in the sand. They found a range of marine debris that showed the pervasiveness of plastic, even on pristine beaches that may look clean to the naked eye.

Lucy founded Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre in 2014 and, for over 11 years, has been highlighting ocean health and plastic pollution in the ocean.

The centre’s outreach programme visits local schools educating thousands of childern on plastic pollution. Lucy has also been nominated as an Ocean Hero and Ocean Warrior by An Taisce –The National Trust for Ireland

She created the Volvo Ocean Race ocean health education programme which is available online in eight different languages and is now being used in 38 countries by over 70,000 students.

In Volvo Ocean Race stopover locations the programme has also reached over 20000 students enabling them to become ‘Champions for the Sea’.

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