Scottish Seabird Centre welcomes back visitors

One of the UK’s leading conservation and education charities, the Scottish Seabird Centre, will re-open the doors of its 5-star visitor attraction today - Thursday 23 July 2020. This follows a 4-month closure due to COVID19. The sudden financial impact of closing the doors to the visitor attraction in mid-March, at the start of the critical tourism season on which the charity relies, was devastating. In May they launched an urgent appeal to the public for help which, along with emergency funding from a number of sources, is enabling them to re-open their doors and welcome visitors back.

Although this is a hugely positive step, the months ahead remain challenging for the charity. In order to allow for physical distancing, they will be operating at around 30% of their normal capacity. This means they will only achieve a fraction of the income on which they rely from this short summer season.

Susan Davies, CEO of the Scottish Seabird Centre said “It is with great relief that we have been able to navigate a course through this turbulent financial period and are now able to welcome visitors back to our Centre. Visitors will once again be able to dive in and learn about Scotland’s marine wildlife in our Discovery Experience, take a wildlife boat trip or simply enjoy our retail and café offer with its fine vista across the Firth of Forth to the Bass Rock. In early August we will also restart some of our outdoor learning activities to help keep the children entertained as the school summer holidays come to an end.

“We are enormously grateful for the support of our members, all those who have generously donated to our public appeal and our other funders and supporters without whom we would not be in the position we are.

“The team has worked incredibly hard to set up and learn all the additional steps that we need to have in place to keep both our team, members and visitors safe. There are changes to the way in which we operate and it’s important that people book online in advance of coming to the Centre wherever possible.

“We do still face a challenging time ahead as we have lost 4 months of what is usually a short and hectic tourism season. The income generated during this tourism period is what carries our charity through the quieter winter months ahead. So please, do visit, do continue to support us and help us through to 2021.”

The Scottish Seabird Centre is a conservation and education charity that uses the resources they have in their Centre to bring people closer to the amazing habitats and wildlife that Scotland’s seas support. They inspire people in fun, interactive and engaging ways through their Discovery Experience, Learning Hub, Outdoor Learning and Outreach activities to care for Scotland’s marine environment. Their aim is to give everyone the information and knowledge about they need to make their own informed choices about steps that can be taken to conserve our amazing marine wildlife.

Full details of their new booking systems and safety procedures can be found on their website www.seabird.org.

ENDS

For further press information contact: Jess Thompson, Marketing Manager, email: marketing@seabird.org; tel: +44 07748908027

Scottish Seabird Centre

· The Scottish Seabird Centre is an award-winning conservation and education charity, dedicated to inspiring and educating people about the Scottish marine environment, motivating them to care for and support conservation projects to protect it. It is supported by a 5-star not-for-profit visitor attraction.

· The Centre was originally conceived by local businessman and ornithologist, Bill Gardener MBE, whose vision was to make the wildlife wonder on the Bass Rock (now the world’s largest northern gannet colony) accessible to all.

· Based in the beautiful seaside town of North Berwick, the charity’s vision is “to help ensure that Scotland’s marine environment is healthy, wildlife-rich, valued and enjoyed by all” by inspiring and educating people about the Scottish marine environment through the exhibits in their 5-star visitor attraction, their education and outreach programmes and award-winning conservation projects.

· The Scottish Seabird Centre opened in May 2000 and has won multiple awards for tourism and sustainability. It has led a range of high-profile conservation and education projects.

· The recent refurbishment has been made possible thanks to major funding from the Coastal Communities Fund and Wolfson Foundation, as well support from Scottish Enterprise Foundation, the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the Robertson Trust, the Ellem Foundation, the Dulverton Trust and other generous donors, including the charity’s own Founding/Life members and volunteer group.

· Follow the Scottish Seabird Centre on Facebook/ScottishSeabirdCentre. Twitter @SeabirdCentre and Instagram @seabirdcentre

· For more information on the Scottish Seabird Centre visit www.seabird.org

Key Facts about Scotland’s marine environment

· Scotland has over 18,000km of coastline, in excess of 900 islands, 61% of the UK total sea area.

· The area of Scotland’s seas is about 6 times the land mass of Scotland.

· Scotland’s seas support an amazing diversity of wildlife with over 6,500 species recorded.

· A third of Europe’s breeding seabirds are found in Scotland.

· Seabirds are one of the world’s most threatened groups of vertebrates and one in three species are globally threatened with extinction, including populations of Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) and Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) which are enjoyed by visitors to the Firth of Forth.

· Important marine species include basking sharks, dolphins, porpoises and seals. About 35% of Europe’s harbour (or common) seal population also occur in UK waters with 83% of these found around Scotland’s coast.

· Underneath the water Scotland supports important marine habitats such as cold-water coral, kelp forests and flame shell beds (an important blue carbon resource).

· Our oceans are important natural resource for combatting the effect of climate change. 83% of global carbon cycle is circulated through the world’s oceans and our coastal habitats account for around 50% of the total carbon sequestered in ocean sediments.

· Healthy seas, however, have huge potential to provide natural solutions to the climate emergency by locking up carbon and helping the planet to cool.

· In the last 50 years we have lost 2% of the oxygen in our oceans as a direct result of climate change, this is already having a devastating impact on our marine eco-systems and if left unchecked will be catastrophic for food security the world over.