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Marine / Plastic whales on tour to raise awareness of marine litter

Schools to be visited by the plastic pods

A close up of the blow up whales.

LOVERS of whales, dolphins, seals and all marine life will get an unusual treat next week when Andy Peters of Whale Workshop brings a pod of inflatable sea creatures to the islands for a week of shows in schools and public halls.

After over 20 years visiting more than a thousand schools, exhibitions and festivals throughout the UK, Europe and beyond, Andy is bringing his educational show to Shetland for the first time in two decades.

Focusing on the marine environment, its wildlife and the challenges it faces, a major theme of the Shetland tour will be marine litter and plastic pollution using “hands on engaging activities to raise awareness and generate respect” for the seas on which our lives depend.

Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary has organised a tour of schools throughout Shetland starting in Sandwick on Monday (6 May) and ending in Lerwick on Friday (10 May), aiming to reach as many primary pupils and secondary students as possible.

Then they are due to stage events for the wider public on Saturday 11 May at Lerwick’s Gilbertson Park Games Hall, and on Sunday 12 May at Hillswick Public Hall.

“We met Andy last year and were blown away by his life-size and lifelike marine animals and thought how good it would be for Shetland to see them,” the sanctuary’s Pete Bevington said.

“Andy and his amazing inflatable animals were already coming to Aberdeen for its Dolphin Festival at the end of April, and we knew it would be crazy to miss the opportunity to bring him one step further north.”

From Monday to Thursday the Marine Wildlife Roadshow will visit schools in Sandwick, Brae, Aith, Baltasound and Mid Yell, with all the nearby primary schools invited to attend.

Children are entranced by the inflatable whales.

“On Friday we’ll be at Gilbertson Park Games Hall for the primary kids in Lerwick, Scalloway, Tingwall and Hamnavoe, though sadly we won’t be able to accommodate the secondary students at the Anderson High as well,” Pete explained.

“However we will be staying at Gilbertson Park on Saturday for children to bring their parents or anyone else along, and then on Sunday we’ll be all day at Hillswick Public Hall. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we’re really looking forward to it.”

The public events in Lerwick and Hillswick will run from 11am until 5pm.

The Marine Wildlife Roadshow has been made possible by the support of a wide range of businesses and organisations, including the national ocean charity SeaChangers.

Local sponsors include ferry operators NorthLink, oil industry environment group SOTEAG, The Shetland Bird Club, the Northmaven and Lerwick community councils and the three salmon companies with local interests Grieg Seafood, Scottish Sea Farms and Cooke Aquaculture.