Sunnyside Primary recognised as COAST Ambassadors

COAST Ambassador status awarded to Sunnyside School of Conservation

It is with great pleasure that we have awarded Sunnyside School of Conservation with official Ambassador status of the charity. COAST ambassadors are individuals or groups who have devoted time and effort to work with them to achieve great things and are dedicated to advancing the mission and goals of COAST.           

Sunnyside Primary School is an inner-city Glasgow Council establishment which, from Primary One, involves its pupils in developing skills and embarking on adventures based around exploring and protecting nature. Their fundamental ethos is to engage their pupils in nature, including joining in with activities aimed at protecting the natural environment or, where needs be, initiating their own campaigns designed and led by the young people in the class. This key vision, and the works done by the Primary 7 classes of “Ocean Defenders” over the last 10 years, is exactly why COAST have recognised the school as worthy recipients of Ambassador status.            

COAST aim to protect and restore the Clyde for future generations, and a big part of this is inspiring the next generation of conservationists” states COAST Outreach and Communications Manager, Jenny Crockett. “The fact is, Sunnysiders don’t need inspired, they are already at that stage of forming opinions and pressing for change; we have now worked with the award-winning Ocean Defenders for eight years to help drive change, including linking them up with local schools on Arran to push forward their #NaeStrawAtAw campaign. The pupil’s determination and drive to take their future in their own hands is truly inspirational, and we can’t think of more worthy recipients for COAST Ambassador status.

Since the school began their conservation journey in 2014, they have looked to Arran as their “doorstep” marine conservation group, learning all about the pros and cons of establishing a community-led marine reserve to protect Arran’s seas. Last week was their fourth visit to the island and their first chance to jump onboard RV COAST Explorer and to visit the COAST Discovery Centre. Onboard COAST’s Research Vessel, the Ocean Defenders were treated to live views of the seabed, as they conducted drop-down camera surveys of maerl beds before completing a plankton haul, the finds of which they took back to the Discovery Centre to look at under the microscope. Following much enjoyment marvelling at the creatures in the marine tanks, asking thought-provoking questions of COAST staff, and some beach art, the Ocean Defenders were surprised on the beach by the awarding of their Ambassador Certificate.

Miss Lisa Perrie, Principal Teacher of Conservation, said “It is an absolute honour to be asked to be COAST Ambassadors. We became aware of the amazing achievements of COAST early on in our journey to become a School of Conservation and have followed in their wake ever since. Their example of bringing the community together to bring about positive change has been one that we have tried to emulate in our campaigns too. We’re chuffed and humbled to be asked to be Ambassadors for such an inspiring organisation.”

Over the coming years, COAST will continue to work and support Sunnyside, but it is equally important they expand their connections with local schools on the island. “We’ve so enjoyed reconnecting with our local schools over the last couple of years.” says Jenny “We’ve loved being back on the shore with the island children who are so knowledgeable about what is on their doorstep, and we’re delighted to have been able to facilitate trips onboard RV COAST Explorer for all P4-P7 students, who have now conducted citizen science in Arran’s seas.” If any teacher or group on the island would like COAST’s input in activities they are delivering, please get in touch.