St Abbs marine station crew star at Dunbar SciFest 2015

SBBN-12-03-15 St Abbs team take sea creatures to Dunbar Science FEstival 2015
SBBN-12-03-15 St Abbs team take sea creatures to Dunbar Science FEstival 2015

The team from St Abbs marine station have made quite the splash with their special appearance at this year’s Dunbar SciFest.

Three of the team travelled to Dunbar to show off some of the Berwickshire coast’s sea creatures to interested schoolchildren.

The trio consisted of Kevin Scott and Ashley Cordingley from the marine station, and Dr William Sanderson of Heriot-Watt University.

They made the trip up the oast as part of a MAST (Marine Alliance of Science and Technology) Outreach program, involving Royal Haskoning, Herriot-Watt and St Abbs Marine station.

Ashley said: “All the creatures on display were local and have been collected in the Dunbar and St Abbs region.”

He also added that on March 20-21 local people could take advantage of the exceptionally low tide and find many of the creatures in their natural habitats, in rock pools and on the rocky shore.

The MAST project is designed to promote conservation and engage young people, switching them onto marine environmental issues.

The Dunbar SciFest returned for 2015, it’s fifth incarnation, as part of British Science Week, and was recognised in the Scottish Parliament.

MSP Iain Gray praised the work of Dunbar Primary and its annual science festival.

Mr Gray, who is also the shadow education secretary, highlighted during a debate on so-called ‘STEM’ subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – that Dunbar Primary had its own science teacher, and said it was “no coincidence” that the school also hosted a science festival.

Recent evidence given to parliament by the Learned Societies Group and the Royal Society of Edinburgh suggested that 98% of primary and secondary schools depended on external funding for practical work, while the Royal Society of Chemistry in Scotland say there should be specialist science teachers in every primary school.

Mr Gray continued: “As a former physics teacher science is a subject close to my heart, so a festival to celebrate it right here in the county is especially welcome. And at a time when teachers and heads are under more strain than ever, the things that are most time-consuming and expensive – like science teaching and experiments – are the things squeezed the most.

“Science is so valuable to our economy and will only become more so – the hundreds of thousands of science graduates our economy will need in the next 15 years are at school now, so there’s no time to lose in getting them interested.”