By Melanie Hill, Executive Officer, ScottishPower Foundation
Melanie Hill, ScottishPower Foundation Executive Officer and Trustee, recently visited Techniquest to see first-hand how Foundation funding is helping young people across Wales learn more about the importance of protecting the marine environment from pollution. Read her thoughts below.
I’m just back from an incredible trip; a journey that took me from the most vibrant coral reefs to the darkest depths below, where I saw fish that glowed in the dark and a host of curious creatures along the way.
I found out about how our seas are changing and what can be done to help protect the underwater environment for future generations. I even took a test to see whether I was destined to become an oceanographer.
This wasn’t an international sea-faring mission, though, and if you’re wondering how I did on the test… I’m still Executive Officer and Trustee of the ScottishPower Foundation! And it’s in that capacity that I had the privilege of visiting Techniquest in Cardiff — Wales’ largest science discovery centre — to see how our funding is supporting their Ocean Extravaganza Project.
From developing the show — and free teacher resources for participating schools — to enabling them to offer free tickets to primary school pupils and families from the most deprived areas of Wales during the summer holidays so they too can experience this incredible trip, it’s really making a difference.
It was a real joy for me to see this project brought to life. It felt like the charity had taken a real, personal responsibility to ensure that people were taking up this opportunity, and that they were really delivering on the commitments in their funding application.
Techniquest is a great facility, buzzing with activity and people during the school holidays, so it seems the project has really come to fruition. The staff are filled with fun and energy and are clearly engaged in the environmental messages they’re passing on, which really aligns with two of the key areas the Foundation is committed to supporting; the advancement of education and environmental protection.
I loved how Techniquest had taken the theme of Ocean Extravaganza and rolled it out throughout the different areas in the centre. Far beyond the live show we were funding they had the impromptu workshop areas (called Busking areas) linked to the theme, as well as turning the planetarium dome into an under-the-seas immersive experience, which felt like you were in the ocean watching the coral fading colour and seeing the impact of plastics on the marine life environment.
This is just one of 19 projects receiving a portion of the £1.2 million we’ve awarded this year, and it’s a great illustration of why the ScottishPower Foundation exists.
I’m grateful the charity can make this incredible, worthwhile project available to more people and that I had the chance to experience it too. I’d like to thank Techniquest for that opportunity. It’s clear to see how inspired the next generation of decision makers are to ensure we take better decisions to look after the environment around us.