Kevin McIlwee from Jersey Marine Conservation won Best Conservation Project in our Jersey Conservation Awards in 2022. On winning our Jersey competition last year, Kevin explained that his project '70-4-70', commemorating the late Queen's Platinum Jubilee, was designed to get the community to identify and log 70 marine species and collect and record 70 pieces of litter from our shores. The valuable data would then be recorded in the Jersey Biodiversity Centre database to assist in finding ways to safeguard the marine environment, as well as directly removing harmful waste & materials from our local shores.
We caught up with Kevin to get an update on how successful the 70-4-70 project was and hear how he would encourage anyone to enter our Awards.
What have you and your team at Jersey Marine Conservation been up to since winning our Jersey Conservation Awards last year?
2022 was a very busy year for us and already the pace of 2023 is gathering momentum. We ran a big community awareness event in January this year called Marine Mission. This included an exhibition of the rubbish collected, from the 70-4-70 project, around our coastline and activities for children using some of the things found. Our rock pool explorations and Touch Tank sessions also continue to prove more popular than ever.
How did the prize money from our Awards help with your project?
The prize money helped us organise several clean-up events, focusing on remote marine areas that are difficult to access. We spent a week with the Jersey Sea Cadets taking groups to clean up the coves and bays along the southwest coast of the island. As this requires the use of a specialist vessel, the funding helped enormously. Also our event in January cost £5,000 to hold but was incredibly well attended, well received and brought together many organisations involved in marine conservation and associated well-being.
What is your ambition for Jersey Marine Conservation in 2023?
We will be focusing on seagrass restoration and how we can safeguard these areas. We will hopefully establish a proposal to officially recognise it’s importance within Jerseys waters.
What advice do you have for someone considering entering our Conservation Awards this year?
My advice is think of short-term clear achievable goals. Consider what else is happening and how your project can link-up with key events and other community groups. Show how you are engaging islanders in the need to safeguard where we live. Gather together photos and videos that will deliver your message clearly and concisely.
There are very few conservation awards that are accessible to Channel Island groups. Partaking and being recognised for what you do, even if you don’t win, raises your profile and increases public awareness.
So don't delay - enter your project by 10th May 2023. See our Community tab for more details on how to enter online.