Marine Life fascinates children of all ages and is a great introduction to nature and the natural world. Schools lucky enough to be based near the seaside can use the wonderful natural classroom of a rocky seashore and rock pools but for those far inland, an indoor session with fascinating seashore finds and colourful photographs can be just as illuminating.

Primary school visits within sensible driving distance of Cambridge can be arranged for small or large classes. With small classes (up to about 30) sessions can be interactive and could include any of the following: a short slide show, learning how to use a key to identify seashore shells, drawing tropical seashells, a demonstration of diving gear, taking an underwater photograph in a tank.

‘Underwater books’ is a popular talk designed to show children just what is involved in writing and creating books about underwater life. It can be modified to suit most age groups up to about 13 year olds and to suit most class sizes. This is especially popular with schools, libraries and book shops during ‘book weeks’.

Adventurous secondary schools, might consider an interactive field trips to tropical Malaysia. ‘Rainforest to Reef’, runs in the beautiful island of Tioman located off the SE coast of Peninsular Malaysia, includes trekking through the ‘jungle’ and snorkelling over coral reefs . Other programmes in Malaysia are based in Ipoh, Sedili Besar and Langkawi. The ‘Summit to Sea’ programme runs in Bali, Indonesia. All trips are run by Ecofieldtrips based in Singapore, a company with many years experience in this field. Frances Dipper was one of the tutors for several years and can come and talk to your school about their programmes.

Talks for Clubs/ Societies

Enliven your AGM or other group meeting with first hand accounts and Powerpoint shows of the strange and fascinating underwater world. Meet anything from sea slugs to sharks from UK to Australia. Frances gives regular talks within the Cambridgeshire area and beyond, to wildlife groups, dive clubs, WI, and village societies including social clubs. In fact anyone who wants to listen! Talks can be modified to suit your group’s interests and some popular titles are listed below.

Britain’s Hidden Marine Life

Rocking along the Norfolk coast: cliffs, dunes, marshes, pool and reefs

Travels of a Marine Biologist

Coral reefs, life and people of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Borneo

New title coming soon: Marine and coastal wildlife of Australia and New Zealand

Fish Identification

Fish watching is the underwater equivalent of bird watching and is every bit as absorbing. Divers can only spend a relatively short time underwater but if you know what to look out for, then your identification skills will quickly improve. Photographing fish can be difficult, but whilst a good sideways portrait of a fish is best for later identification, any photograph is better than none.

Hone your identification skills on a Fish Identification Course run by Frances Dipper. These are usually arranged throughSeasearch training for which you can contact local organisers but can also be arranged for any marine organisation, diving clubs, wildlife groups etc by contacting Frances Dipper. The course involves a day of talks and ‘practicals’ using photographs and specimens and usually a visit to a local Sealife centre to practise your newly acquired skills.

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