As founder of the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre Steve Hartley has been involved since its conception in 1996. Alongside managing the CBMWC as a volunteer Steve also runs Dolphin Survey Boat Trips. He is an exerienced skipper with over 30 years experience and is also second coxwain of New Quay Lifeboat.
Steve has been involved with numerous research projects concerning the marine life in Cardigan Bay over the years both as a charter skipper and researcher and was co-author of the Photo-ID research project that most of today’s Photo-ID work in Cardigan Bay stems from. Steve was involved in helping initiate the designation of the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation and has carried out a great deal of work over the years to raise awareness of the importance of the marine environment in Wales and the conservation of the species and habitats found within it.
Sarah Perry has been involved with the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre since 2003 when she first came to New Quay as a CBMWC volunteer and has been involved with the project ever since!
Sarah is a Zoologist with a passion for the marine environment and has played a major role in the redevelopment of the CBMWC since 2004. Her work has included redeveloping the CBMWC visitor centre, managing all the research work and until October 2009 she worked as Project Manager and was responsible for managing the development of the CBMWC as well as coordinating all the fantastic volunteers involved in the project. In 2009 Sarah went to work for Wildlife Trusts Wales as Marine Campaigns and Advocacy Officer, her work there focusing on Marine Act implementation alongside other well known eNGO’s, but she continued to volunteer at CBMWC in her spare time.
In September 2010 Sarah returned to University to study full time for a PhD, investigating the use of remote sensing technology for monitoring marine megafauna in the Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics Research Group within the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University and in conjunction with the Countryside Council for Wales. Sarah continues to volunteer for CBMWC in her spare time!
Project Officer Laura Mears
Laura joined CBMWC in November 2009. Originally from London, Laura has a degree in marine biology and Spanish from Swansea University and an MSc in marine environmental protection from Bangor University so she feels quite at home in Wales. However, Laura has previously worked abroad in Mexico managing a coral reef conservation project and in the British Virgin Islands living aboard a catamaran and teaching marine biology and scuba diving on a summer school programme. Although now living in slightly less tropical climes, Laura embraces the outdoor life and likes to get out and explore the coast and countryside as much as possible although she says that the winter time does provide a good excuse for staying in by the fire and knitting! As Project Officer for CBMWC Laura is responsible for the recruitment and management of our volunteers as well day to day administration and fundraising.
Marine mammal acoustician Dr Stephanie King
Stephanie is a marine mammal acoustician who has over 7 years experience working in the marine mammal field. She gained both her Masters and PhD on marine mammal acoustic behaviour from the Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St Andrews, where she is currently based. Most of her research has focused on bottlenose dolphin communication and their use of highly individualised signature whistles. Stephanie’s work has led her all over the world working with many different Tursiops populations as well as other species. She currently works as an environmental consultant looking at the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals. In her spare time she volunteers at the CBMWC to facilitate the collection of acoustic data.
Our local volunteers
Heather Payton has spent most of her career as a journalist, head of department, programme editor and broadcaster, mostly for the BBC, and lives in Pembrokeshire. She has just completed a degree in marine biology and coastal management and in the summer of 2010 she worked on a study of bottlenose dolphin social networks using CBMWC’s photo-ID catalogue. Later this year she will begin a research degree at Swansea University, looking at the behavioural characteristics of bottlenose dolphins.
Heather first became involved with CBMWC during a three week stint as a volunteer in the summer of 2009. She enjoyed herself so much that she continued working with Steve and Sarah, trying to raise CBMWC’s profile by handling relations with local and national media.
When not buried in books or bobbing about in a small boat on the Milford Haven waterway, she is a keen if rather ponderous runner with five marathons and umpteen half marathons under her belt.
Sue retired to New Quay in November 2009 after spending some time in the North East having moved away from the West Midlands in 2001. Sue loves the theatre, both actively participating and going to see shows. In the 2 years before moving to New Quay, she and her husband Barry were involved in a touring production of a show, which she thoroughly enjoyed. She also has a keen interest in Art and Crafts and enjoys reading, walking, travelling and has become very interested in all aspects of conservation – particularly marine – since becoming a volunteer. Sue also enjoys swimming and has recently purchased a kayak which she hopes to start using before too long. Sue still has ambitions to visit lots of places in the world which she hasn’t been to yet and is hoping that she lives long enough to achieve them! Sue manages our gift shop and volunteers in the visitor centre and also acts as a land-based researcher at the New Quay harbour survey site.
Barry studied at Oxford and Hull before becoming a Lecturer in Economics. In 2001 he retired and moved to Northumberland. In November 2009 he moved with Sue to New Quay and became a volunteer in early 2010. His interests over last 25 years have mainly centred on Amateur Dramatics, although in the last year he has been trying to learn to play the guitar. Barry says that being a CBMWC volunteer is very rewarding as he believes it is important to try to protect the natural beauty of this area and its wonderful mega-fauna. Barry is both a land and boat-based researcher and assists with data entry and the production of the photo-ID catalogue.
Lindsay retired in 2008, having worked as a teacher in both secondary and primary schools for 35 years. She has a degree in Zoology and mainly taught Science. She moved with her husband Bruce to Ceredigion because they had often come to the area on holiday and loved it here, especially the coast. Lindsay enjoys walking and gardening, but having had a busy career she felt something was missing in retirement and that she had too much time on her hands! She began to look for voluntary work and having visited CBMWC several times she felt that she might have something to offer.
Lindsay volunteers in the visitor centre and as a land and boat-based researcher and also runs our educational activities and has been helping us to develop links with local schools and improve our educational facilities and resources.
Sue is originally from Manchester where she had several jobs over the years, but all with a financial background. She moved to New Quay with her partner Andrew, in 2006. They enjoy walking and are quite often found walking parts of the Ceredigion Coast Path. However, when Sue is not out walking, she has her hands full renovating the house. She and Andrew are doing the work themselves but have never taken on a project quite this big. Hopefully, at the end of the work they will open the house up as a bed and breakfast, specialising in walking holidays. Apart from the work on the house, she is trying to embrace the “Good Life” – she’s some rescue hens and tries to grow as many vegetables in the garden as possible. Sue decided to volunteer at CBMWC to meet people and be involved in the community. Sue says that she has achieved those goals but has also learnt a great deal about the marine environment and wildlife in Cardigan Bay and other areas. Sue volunteers in the visitor centre, helps with data entry and is a land-based researcher at the New Quay harbour site.
Sarah is originally from Buckinghamshire but has lived in the New Quay area for over 30 years. She trained as a teacher, after obtaining a degree in natural sciences from Cambridge University, and then taught science for Voluntary Services Overseas in Fiji for a year, followed by several years teaching biology in comprehensive schools in northern England. At this point Sarah moved to Wales to embark on a new career which involved keeping dairy cattle and growing organic vegetables whilst raising a family. After several years of farming she started supply teaching at local schools, but once her children were both at school Sarah obtained a post at a small biotechnology firm. She continued to work there, firstly in the Quality Control laboratories and then in Quality Assurance, until her retirement in 2012.
Whilst living in Wales Sarah has spent much of her leisure time gardening, but whenever possible enjoyed walking the Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion Coastal Paths. She developed a keen interest in the wildlife of the coast and surrounding waters and is thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to contribute to public awareness of marine conservation by volunteering at CBMWC. Sarah started volunteering at CBMWC in March 2013 and has been monitoring marine mammal activity from the land and the sea, updating the database, manning the Centre and beach-cleaning, alongside the seasonal volunteers.
If you would like to become a local volunteer, find out how here.