Organisers of Aberdeen’s popular Dolphin Watch project will bow out with an online festival to mark Scotland’s year of coasts and waters.
Dolphin Fest was cancelled due to the unfurling pandemic last spring but moved online this year to ensure the people of the north-east – and many further afield – can engage with the area’s marine wildlife.
Since 2013, the lottery-funded Dolphin Watch has brought worldwide attention to the bottlenose dolphins that are seen regularly in the mouth of the city’s harbour.
And this year, the Dolphin Fest will bring the curtain down on the RSPB Scotland project, run in partnership with the city council and Whale And Dolphin Conservation.
RSPB Scotland community engagement officer, Sadie Gorvett, who is organising the festival, said: “I am so grateful to EventScotland for giving us the chance to run Dolphin Fest this year.
“With the disappointment of so many events having to be cancelled in the past 12 months, I hope it will be something people can look forward to.
“It won’t be quite how we had imagined, with it now being online but, thanks to the support of so many organisations and individuals the programme of events looks to be just as exciting.
“I hope Dolphin Fest will inspire people to get out in their local areas to experience the incredible marine environment and wildlife we are lucky to have, not just in Aberdeen but across Scotland.”
In its nine years, organisers have expanded the celebration of Aberdeen’ much-loved sea life from the viewing opportunities at Torry Battery – which attracted thousands – to include a schools programme and community talks.
Through the Dolphinwatch viewing and community outreach work, the RSPB has engaged with more than 30,500 people, with volunteers also helping to collect more than 500 bags of litter over more than 5,000 collective volunteer hours.
And this year’s Dolphin Fest, running from April 7-11, will champion a whole host of marine animals off the north-east coast, while raising the profile of the threats they face.
The festival will include a series of take action talks and live Q&As from a range of organisations, a young conservationists webinar with inspiring young speakers, suggested wildlife walking trails and a series of story time sessions with children’s TV presenter Rory Crawford.
There will also be recorded tours of marine locations such as St Cyrus and the Scottish Seabird Centre, games, a performance from local music group Big Noise Torry and a Q&A session with those behind the ambitious plans for Greyhope Bay.
It will also encourage people to take action to protect the marine environment by taking part in the Big Blue Clean Up litter picking event.
Director of Events at Visit Scotland, Paul Bush OBE, said: “We are delighted to support Dolphin Fest as part of year of coasts and waters.
“Scotland offers the perfect stage to explore our natural environment and this year’s festival provides an opportunity to enjoy online events and learn about the marine wildlife of Aberdeen and the north-east coast.”