The Volvo Ocean Race teamed up with Sky Ocean Rescue, Cardiff University and Keep Wales Tidy to host a fun, fact filled, day where teenagers from across Wales learned more about ocean plastic pollution.
More than 250 students from across Wales descended on Cardiff to attend the ‘Eco-Schools’ event in the Race Village NoFit State circus tent.
Under the big top, they were inspired by Volvo Ocean Race’s work to stop plastic entering our Oceans, found out about the solutions to the problem and even made personal plastic pledges.
The agenda also included author and TV presenter Tom ‘The Blowfish’ Hird, the world’s only heavy metal marine biologist.
The highlight of the day was the opportunity to visit the Sky Ocean Rescue stand where they found out more about Ocean health through fun activities and a 3D ‘Dive-in’ experience.
The students were also able to make a video, in the mobile Sky News studio, using the information they had learned throughout the day.
Lesley Jones, CEO of Keep Wales Tidy, said this was the biggest schools event they’d ever held.
She said: “We had a fantastic turnout of children who heard positive messages about how they all have a role to play and that everyone can help make a difference to improve ocean health.
“We want to empower them into taking positive actions and it’s easier for them to do this if they have an understanding of the issues.
The students got a feeling for the Oceans, the Race and the legacy the Race will leave in the city.”
The children also took part in workshops with organisations such as Welsh Water, The Marine Conservation Society and the Volvo Ocean Race Education Programme.
The education team presented a workshop focussing on the problems caused by plastic pollution and how the youth have a role to play in finding solutions to the issue.
The students, aged 11-16, explored ways in which they can make simple changes in their own lives to reduce their plastic footprint.
Mairéad O’Donovan, Volvo Ocean Race Science & Education Programme Assistant, said: “We presented a workshop that links in with our education programme which the children really enjoyed.
“We’ve also teamed up with Sky Ocean Rescue and these teenagers used what they learned today to deliver a ‘message to the ocean’ in the Sky News pop-up studio.
“It’s really heartening to see these young people’s enthusiasm and their engagement with this problem and, what’s more, they’re taking that message home with them, which is really important.”
Academics from Cardiff University also presented workshops and used the Race Village to launch the university’s environmental sustainability strategy to members of the Welsh Government’s National Assembly.
Helen Beddow from Cardiff University, said: “Sustainability is embedded into everything we do at Cardiff University so the Volvo Ocean Race seemed like a natural bedfellow for us to partner with and announce our new strategy.”