Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Intern positions for 2017 summer with Sea Synergy

Marine biology volunteer positions available at Sea Synergy Marine Awareness and Activity Centre, Waterville, Co. Kerry, Ireland: 2016 summer season

Sea Synergy is a Marine Awareness and Activity Centre set up by marine biologist Lucy Hunt in her hometown; the beautiful coastal village Waterville located on the famed picturesque Ring of Kerry and Wild Atlantic Way driving routes in SW Ireland. For more info please visit .The centre opened in the summer of 2014 and since then has been shortlisted for Maritime tourism Award, Irish Responsible Tourism Award and the Ocean Heroes Award.

The marine awareness centre incorporates an interactive marine exhibition of Irish marine life, a small gift shop and a booking office for marine activities in the area. Marine awareness and education programmes are run from the centre throughout the summer including children and adult beach workshops, snorkelling, nature surveys, hatchery and lake tours, summer camps and indoor presentations. Sea Synergy is involved in and reports to a number of ongoing research projects such as Coastwatch, Seasearch, IWDG reporting schemes.

There are four full time volunteer positions available for end of May – end Sept 2017. Preference will be given to candidates that can volunteer for longer periods of time and who fit the below requirements. (More positions may also be available in August so please include how long you can come for and when you are available).  

Education and Outreach officer duties :
Working alongside owner of Sea Synergy you will:
·       Develop the marine education programme
·       Supervise children and adult marine workshops on the beaches and in the centre
·       Show people around the exhibition centre
·       Generate marine awareness presentations and games
·       Give marine wildlife presentations
·       Provide marine wildlife talks on boats when possible
·       Host travelling marine workshops
·       Create educational and promotional resources
·       Promote social networking and public relations
·       Social media reporting and advertising of activities & workshops
·       Assist in research and field survey work
·       Work in gift shop/booking office/exhibition reception

Research development officer duties
Working alongside owner of Sea Synergy you will:
·       Develop research and survey programme incl. Coastwatch, Shore Thing, local nature studies & trails, Citizen Science; seal surveys, IWDG
·       Record, organise data and report to relevant organisations
·       Supervise local headland watches for marine mammals and birds
·       Organise and conduct public whale watches from local headland
·       Set up and attend boat based surveys when possible
·       Provide talks/presentations on marine wildlife and survey involvement
·       Encourage the public in surveys - citizen science
·       Teach children and public survey methods
·       Promote social networking and public relations
·       Social media reporting and advertising of citizen science surveys & events
·       Work in gift shop/ exhibition reception & centre/booking office

Important skills/qualifications

·       Background in marine biology/environmental science or similar 
·       Keen interest in marine conservation and education
·       First Aid skills
·       Be enthusiastic and possess a caring, patient & positive attitude, with a strong desire to learn
·       Previous boating experience (for research officer)
·       Strong commitment to volunteering work
·       Must be able use to use own initiative and have desire for independent actions/thoughts and work without continuous supervision
·       Ability to work well in a team
·       Confidence to interact with the public, especially children
·       Excellent verbal and writing/reporting skills
·       Good organizational and workload management skills
·       Good IT skills

·       Strong interest in and knowledge of Irish marine biodiversity
·       Previous experience snorkeling or scuba diving certificate 
·       Previous experience in public speaking
·       Marketing and social media skills
·       Previous experience working with children
·       Previous experience in survey work (e.g. headland watches, coastal surveys)
·       Previous experience in data handling
·       Previous experience with aquaria
·       Ability to work long hours outdoors in variable weather
·       Capability to work well on boats
·       Life saving and Advanced First Aid skills
·       Have own transport

·       Live in one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland for the summer
·       See some of Ireland’s amazing marine life on watches and surveys
·       Snorkel, scuba dive and observe Ireland’s coastal waters
·       Work with like-minded and enthusiastic team
·       Visit UNESCO world heritage site Skellig Micheal
·       Be part of survey vessels, wildlife tour boats and Skellig trips
·       Develop your skills in marine surveying, outreach, education and awareness
·       Gain experience with Waterville Lakes & Rivers Trust in salmon and seatrout conservation measures

To view more of Sea Synergy and the area where you could be working watch this video clip from a programme featured on TV3 Lucy Hunt - Sea Synergy Waterville, Co. Kerry
Or see our schools promo clip on our new Youtube channel

Shared accommodation can be arranged with the Sea Synergy team at your own expense (ranging from €50-70pw depending on house availability).

Please send a cover letter with your CV and available times for summer 2017 to Lucy Hunt at withEMAIL TITLE: 2017 INTERN POSITION. Application deadline is 20th of Feb 2017. Interviews will be conducted in March via skype/tel or in person. For more information please send an email to  titled 2017 INTERN POSITION or call +353 (0) 877850929.

Add us on Facebook LH Marine & Sea Synergy
Follow us on Twitter LHMARINE_info

Thursday, 10 November 2016

November newsletter

Hope you are well and you have enjoyed some time in the fine crisp cold weather we have been having the past few weeks! A lot of changes being happening around the world and with nature too as the days shorten animals are getting ready for hibernation. Sea Synergy marine awareness centre is too in hibernation as we are now closed for the winter until summer 2017, but that doesn’t mean that we have stopped; in fact I'm really happy to say it is one of my busiest autumns here at home in Ireland!

Now listed as one of the Heritage in schools Experts I have been out to lots of primary schools introducing them to all things marine, biodiversity, conservation and Leave No Trace. The school visits provide additional education on the natural environment and are part funded by the Heritage Council. If you work in a school or know anyone who does please pass on this information! Follow the link below to find out how to book a visit :

Also this year I’m very happy to say I have been given the honour of rolling out the Marine Institutes fully funded Marine Explorers Programme for primary schools in Kerry! This is a fantastic programme for 3-6th classes to discover the wonders of the ocean and how we are inextricably interconnected with it! It includes projects on marine biodiversity, having an aquarium in your school and a seashore safari as well as great lesson plans and resources for teachers! If you would like to get involved in either of these programmes for schools please email me on

Also for Science week we have been visiting secondary schools to let students know what marine scientists work is like and show them some of the cool animals we get to hang out with!

In October I was delighted to be awarded silver in the Irish Responsible Tourism Awards forBest Natural Heritage Tourism for Sea SynergyThank you to everyone who wished us luck and congratulated us on our Silver award. I had a lovely day at the Irish Responsible Tourism Conference in Dublin and was delighted by the result!
We organised the first Iveragh Learning Landscapes Symposium from the 14-16th of October which was a huge success! We were blown away by all the enthusiasm, excitement and fantastic feedback we have had from all our participants! The two day event in Waterville and Caherdaniel was focused on place based learning, outdoor education, nature connection and heritage through talks, workshops and guided walks. We had over 80 attendees from all different walks of life travelling from all over the country and Europe. These are the type of events we need in rural Ireland to help connect people with their place, extend the tourism season and empower people to have the confidence to teach outdoors so I am delighted it went so well! Keep an eye on the Iveragh Learning Landscapes Facebook page to keep up to date on next year’s event, scheduled for October 2017! For more info on the event this year see the report attached.

I had a fun afternoon with John and Kerryann from Atlantic Irish Seaweed on the Frank Lewis show on Radio Kerry talking rock pooling, foraging and folklore.  Listen in on the podcast just click the link :

A few places still left on our Sea Self- Mindfulness @ Sea; 10th-18th December –St. Thomas; US & British Virgin IslandsWant to get away from the cold and busyness before Xmas? Come back refreshed and revived for the Christmas festivities? A trip of a lifetime amidst the beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean awaits! Spend 9 days/8 nights aboard the 72ft yacht; Sea Dragon to reconnect with nature and yourself and discover one of the best places to be mindful – at sea. Spaces limited, more information and booking see

IT Tralee Seminar SeriesWe recently attended a day’s seminar held by the BA Outdoor Learning students at IT Tralee. It was a very insightful event attended by like-minded people looking into High Quality Outdoor Learning (HQOL) in Ireland in the 21st century. There was also a webinar for those who could not attend the event in person. It was lovely to see a few familiar faces from our recent Iveragh Learning Landscapes Symposium! The next seminar will be held on the 9th December. Email for more information and to book your place as places book up fast.

Also I will be running a Marine wildlife and heritage course for UCC ‘s  Adult Continuing Education department in Spring 2017, Dates to be confirmed but  it will be here in SW Kerry! If you would like a weekend of fun learning about our fantastic marine wildlife & heritage in the beautiful Iveragh Peninsula please contact me to find out more.  

And last but most definitely not least, one of our longest staying interns at Sea Synergy; Louise King will be leaving us on Monday so we wish her well on her new adventures and work placement in Plymouth aquarium! Thanks for all the help this year! As many people do she too has fallen in love with lovely Iveragh and assures everyone she will be back J

Lots of great plans coming for 2017! Including our Optimum You Wellness workshops and retreats in January with Carey Yoga & Nutrition!! So be sure to keep up to date on our Facebook page: LH Marine & Sea Synergy not to miss out!

Have an awesome winter! Look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Sea Synergy team for 2016! Thanks everyone xx

Monday, 3 October 2016

Events and Activities catch up from summer!!

Past activities &events catch up!
Summer Sea Camp
We had an exciting week with a lovely group of budding marine biologists on our sea camp! Sessions were packed full of fun with talks, activities, experiments and games to teach marine mammals, sharks and fish, rocky seashore species and marine conservation. Highlights were showing the campers a real dogfish and drawing out a life size blue whale in the sand, all 30m of it! Matilda, age 8 from England, said her favourite part of the camp was exploring the rock pools with the camp leaders who “told us lots of cool facts”. Wonderful to hear! Thank you to all of our enthusiastic students who made the week a thoroughly enjoyable experience! Lots of sea camps will be running in summer 2017 so watch this space!

IWDG’s Whale Watch Ireland
We had a great afternoon on Hogs Head on the 27th August for IWDG's National Whale Watch Ireland 2016. Even though we didn’t see the beautiful creatures a good time was had by all! Out of the 20 locations who took part across the country, 13 produced sightings with an impressive 5 species at Clogher Head in our very own Co. Kerry! Thank you to everyone who took part!

Big Beach Clean
The clouds parted and the sun shone down on our annual Big Beach Clean in association with Clean Coasts! Fourteen volunteers collected in excess of 25 bags full of marine litter from Waterville Lohar and Inny strand beach! The bulk of the litter was plastic - bottles, fishing line/nets, cables, crates and we even found shoes and flip flops! It was lovely to see some new faces and especially holidaymakers from London! Thanks a million for the help, many hands make light work!

Coming up/News:
Heritage in Schools
I provide interactive workshops on biodiversity, marine heritage, wildlife and conservation, and ‘Leave No Trace’ for primary schools as part of the Heritage in Schools Scheme. The school visits provide additional education on the natural and cultural world. If you work in a school or know anyone who does please pass on this information! Follow the link below to find out how to book a visit!
Irish Responsible Tourism Awards
Sea Synergy has been short listed for the Irish Responsible Tourism Awards by a panel of industry experts under the category ‘Best for Natural Heritage Tourism’! We will find out the result on October 6th at the 2016 Irish Responsible Tourism Conference in Dublin. Wish us luck!
14th-16th October - Iveragh Learning Landscapes
A two day event focussing on place based learning, outdoor education, nature connection and heritage through talks, workshops and guided walks hosted by international and local experts. Perfect for educators, tourism providers, parents and anyone interested in our local environment. Family friendly workshops will be taking place 10am-12pm on both Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th. Only €20 for the entire weekend. Not to be missed! Register online through Eventbrite (link below) ASAP as spaces are limited.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Plastic-Free July
by Sadhbh Quinn

A single use plastic bag can take up to 1000 years to break down into micro-plastics – in its

lifetime it can be ingested by, and result in the premature deaths of up to 100 dolphins

and sea turtles – and this lethal material, no matter how pulverized it becomes by the

oceans, is never truly gone! Even after it’s eventual, glacial-paced degradation to

microscopic smithereens, it is still causing detrimental and toxifying effects to the micro-

ecosystem – the basis for all life in the oceans.

It was this, among other shocking facts and statistics coming to light through the

increasing levels of scientific study into the serious dangers posed by plastic contamination

that prompted myself and my colleagues and team mates at Sea Synergy Marine

Awareness Centre in Waterville to attempt the challenge of a month completely FREE of

plastics! Here is an excerpt of the peaks and troughs I experienced on the journey…

Okay, it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was incredibly challenging. But for the opening of my eyes to

this new and sobering reality, it was so worth it, as the tough things often are.

Living in a rural town where there is one small supermarket (not good when you have no

car!) eliminating all plastic dependency seemed to present us with a pretty momentous

challenge. The idea of keeping a balanced diet seemed next to impossible. At first, we

struggled to imagine how we would cope for an entire month on only the few loose fruits

and veggies to be found in the local shop (avocados, bananas and some  poorly-

looking tomatoes being the only ones that were not wrapped needlessly in plastic

packaging), fresh baked bread and whatever else may be found in cans, jars and the freezer

sections’ array of cardboard boxes.

The basics were out; cartons of milk, sliced bread, bin bags… bottled water? Not a chance.

The fact that I eat a vegetarian diet only funnelled my own options further toward the

processed foods section. Often, after being delighted to find an innocent looking box of

biscuits on the health shelf, I would later be devastated to find the delicious inner contents

individually coated in heavy plastic. Our reactions to these kind of setbacks was equal parts

frustration, bafflement and grief.

Why? Just, why?

The pointlessness all of it was what really struck me. Why would they bother? Surely, its

extra effort, extra money for the company, if nothing else. In most cases, the plastic is doing

little or nothing to actually preserve the food inside. Certainly nothing that other more

sustainable materials couldn’t do equally well. Some might argue it’s a ‘hygiene’ thing. But

on digging a little deeper we find it’s less a hygiene thing and more a psychological thing for

the consumer. Which makes it a marketing thing for the company. Which makes it a money

thing for the economy.

For the producer under demand, it makes sense. Spend a little more on individually plastic-

wrapped biscuits and make the product look better, make it seem of a higher calibre of

biscuit. The biscuit for the person who has everything. The company’s investment is

returned with a higher price tag. And the consumer is rewarded with a lighter pocket and a

quietly dying environment as the backdrop to a generation.

It’s only now, after this experience, that the hardship of finding food items has become truly

apparent, or any products for that matter, that are not in some way wrapped, protected,

lined, adorned, decorated with or made of plastic. It is an absolute mission. It requires

creativity, ingenuity, organisation and forward-thinking just to get your weekly shopping.

Never mind the industriousness it would take to run your business plastic-free. But it

doesn’t need to be that way.

Its pure madness, to a level that I feel I was so institutionalized to as the ‘norm’ that I never

even realised this madness was in me too. Now, I think back to days sitting on the wall of

Dun Laoghaire’s West Pier, watching the shipping traffic of massive cargo ships endlessly

stream in and out of Dublin port, their brightly coloured metal containers so serenely out of

place under the familiar blanket of grey cloud and the pale, Irish sun. What were they all


Consumer goods from all over the world.

Your fruit, vegetables, chocolate, coffee, spices, condiments, gardening equipment, buggies,

toys, printer ink, stationary, clothes, arts and crafts. Everything a carrier for the plague of

plastics that eventually end up in our landfills, rubbish tips, incinerators, and the vast

majority, in our oceans. Make no mistake, it is a disease. One that is killing our oceans and

thus, the majority of life on earth. And lest we forget, the oceans are also the lifeblood that

supports us. Humanity is intimately connected with, and dependent on, the sea for survival.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch for instance. How is that a thing? It sounds like a

sightseeing destination, a place of interest. The Great Barrier Reef or the Grand Canyon. But

no, it is not a landmark, but a blight, a fetid wound on our planets already bruised flank. Its

area is estimated anywhere from 700,000 square km to 15 million square km of rubbish.

This astounding surface area is due to micro-plastics (plastic materials pumped into the

oceans that have been smashed into toxic microscopic smithereens but still remain present

and detectable by sampling) which make up a HUGE proportion of the GPGP mass. Micro-

plastics are readily ingested by many forms of marine life from the largest of all, the baleen

whales, to the smallest of all, microscopic creatures called plankton. As plankton are the

number one basic food group feeding all life in the ocean, their contamination pollutes the

entire oceanic food web. It’s the equivalent of all terrestrial plant-life (think crops)

simultaneously being infected by a toxic virus.

Great indeed.

After the initial pain we felt, our experience started to slowly plateau and suddenly, to

improve. We got creative. We ordered fresh produce from the local farm, our ‘green boxes’

turned up with a fabulous array of lettuce, spinach leaves, rocket, leek, carrots, onion,

chives, beetroot, cabbage, new potatoes and fresh herbs, parsley, bay leaves, lemon balm,

mint, coriander, rosemary. The list went on. And the best bit? It was all fresh picked,

organic, local and tasted amazing. And because our supplier was a friend and neighbour we

needed only share the goal of our Plastic-Free Journey in order to have everything boxed in

wood, cardboard and paper. No plastic in sight. Fantastic! This is the way it should be. Local,

sustainable trade supporting the community and protecting our environment all at once.

Now we were helping the environment in a new way. By buying our greens locally we were

completely circumnavigating the crazy fuel requirements it takes for our fruit and veg to be

shipped from the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, North Africa, Israel. Our oceans were

being spared another unnecessary body blow.

Of course, it wasn’t all plain sailing. We all had a few weak moments, lapses, break-downs.

But it can be easier. Demand for plastic-free goods in great numbers will produce a

response. Action equals reaction. It’s a physical law, an inevitability. We may imagine it is

the producer that controls the options of the consumer, but it is in fact consumers that

dictate demand on the producer. It’s not a chicken-egg scenario, we have the power. We

are the majority and we need to band together in order to make our voices heard, our votes

count and buy and boycott our way to a cleaner, safer environment for ourselves and to

secure a future we can be proud of.

Let’s not become the wasted generation.

Thursday, 7 July 2016


Written by Sadhbh Quinn,
Sea Synergy summer intern 2016

The rare Irish sun beamed off the sleek green finish of the Paddywagon tour bus as it trundled, black-eyed and beetle-like, along the coastal road of the Iveragh Peninsula. 

We were steadily approaching the little sea-side haven of Waterville town and a collective ‘ooooooh’-ing erupted from within the bus every few minutes or so as it periodically ambled into view of the heaving Atlantic ocean, draped in a finery of billowing cerulean robes and crowned in the magnificent dark jewels of the storm-sculpted Skelligs.

The gleaming emerald cuticle of the tour bus blended well with the myriad of fresh green and blue hues which swathed the countryside. But inside sat an even more colorful bunch, an eclectic gaggle of friendly American and German tourists, and one slightly misplaced Dublin girl. 

I had rather brilliantly decided to arrive for my new job on a Bank holiday Mondayand with the only local bus invariably out of action, I instead turned to the reliable and increasingly thriving tourism sector of South Kerry for salvation. I booked myself onto a Ring of Kerry tour with the aim of hopping off at my stop halfway through. The Paddywagon operators were amazingly nice about my customized trip – even for ‘down the country’ as we insular Dubliners tend to label the rest of Ireland - they even agreed to stash my bike for free!

Invariably while trying to manoeuvre the unwieldy thing beneath the bus (my bike was temporarily serving as a packhorse strapped with what looked like enough supplies to last an expedition through the Arctic) I was forced to ask for help from the jovial, mischievous-looking bus driver, Paul. The result was the immediate detection of my Dublin accent and my appointment as the honourary mascot for the trip

I was welcomed with open arms and twinkling eye onto the bus as Paul made a show of getting me to sit in the fold-out front seat beside him at the very front. He also insisted on referring to me as his ‘co-pilot’ and made a point of asking me every 10 minutes to sing a song as Gaeilge through the crackling microphone-headset into which he was giving his spiel. I strategically declined by informing him that the only tune I knew in Irish was the national anthem (and not well at that) to which he responded by throwing his eyes to heaven in blustered disappointment and hastily withdrawing the mouthpiece from my side of the bus. Paul turned out to be mighty craic all together and the 2 hour trip flew by in various bouts of hilarity and uproar! 

Attending IT Tralee and doing a course in Wildlife Biology, which emphasises field work and the outdoors, I felt I had some grasp of the beauty of the Kerry landscape from my various expeditions north of the county. I soon realised, while I ogled, open-mouthed, right along with my far-flung companions, that I was sorely mistaken. I had no idea, even after two years living in the Kingdom, not the slightest inkling, of what lay a mere skip, hop and one somewhat ludicrous Paddwagon down the road from my front door.

I got the job with Marine Biologist Lucy Hunt at Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre through my uncle, who met Lucy queuing for lunch at a business conference in Dublin, and evidently did a good job of talking me up! The more I heard about the project in Waterville, the more excited and inspired I became by the prospect of spending the summer not only gaining invaluable experience in a field I am passionate about, but also to be a part of a project that contributes something positive to the world. In these times, its easy to feel helpless in the face of the numbing violence, audacious self-interest and political apathy to the plight of fellow humans, wildlife and the environment we all call home. 

Finally, here was something I could DO! Something good, something tangible and something that was encouraging and facilitating the type of sorely-needed respect for our finite natural resources and rich natural heritage that will be what sustains us into the next generations

Nothing was going to stop me getting there on time - it's not advisable to show up late on the very first day of a dream job after all! 

And so I arrived in Waterville (bank holiday or no bank holiday)wheeling the handlebars of my pack-horse in one hand and wielding a tent in the other - butterflies threatening to burst from my stomach in the familiar aching excitement and anticipation of a new journey - I entered the pretty white-washed shop front with the blue whale-tail sticking out above the door and the quirky window boxes of daftly nodding sea pink waving me inside and began a new chapter in my story. The one about connection, compassion and giving back! 

Little did I know the inspiring people I would meet and the awesome adventures that awaited me – both on land and the high seas!

And it's still only just begun!

Monday, 4 July 2016


Upcoming events (keep an eye on our FACEBOOK: LH MARINE & SEA SYNERGY also for new events week by week)

Sat 2nd July 10am-midday Beach Crafts workshopfun on the beach and scavenger hunt followed by indoors crafting with beach treasures supervised by Karen from Majackal Creations  (€20ea 6yrs+)
Sun 3rd July 10am-11:30 Explorers workshop Everyone is an explorer with our marine biologists (€10ea)
Sat 9th July 2-4pm Beach Art Fun creations on the beach with marine biologists followed by painting and art with local artist Dana Winder (€20ea 6yrs+)
Sat 23rd July 10am-midday Beach Art Fun creations on the beach with marine biologists followed by painting and art with local artist Dana Winder (€20ea 6yrs+)
Sat 30th July 10am Smugglers Beach Explorers workshop,  Everyone is an explorer with our marine biologists (€10ea)

Sea School camps
July 18th - 21st 10am-12:30 (10yrs+yrs) fun learning and discovery on local beaches and in Sea Synergy centre on the ocean, Irish sea life, marine biology and conservation. please book in advance as limited spaces €90

July 25th-28th 2pm-4:30pm (6-10yrs) fun learning and discovery on local beaches and in Sea Synergy centre on the ocean, Irish sea life, marine biology and conservation. please book in advance as limited spaces €90

July 29th 10-2pm Marine biology taster, Fun surveys and learning what a marine biologist work involves. Great for anyone interested in being a marine biologist or what we do. (Teens ++) €40 Limited places so please book in advance

Nature connection and mindfulness walks throughout July on Tuesday evenings at 7pm, a time to clear your head, relax and practice mindfulness in a beautiful setting. 1hr,  different local location each week, €10ea please book in advance on 0877850929 or call/email me to find out more.

Wildlife & Coastal Exploration rib trips to Bull rock throughout July on Thursday mornings chance to see seals, porpoise, dolphins & whales and lots of seabirds with wildlife guide along the beautiful rugged Wild Atlantic Way coastline. 3 hour trip €50 please book in advance minimum numbers 10 people.

Sunday afternoons in Ballinskelligs for market day, Beach Exploration or Discover snorkeling opportunities Discover the local beach biodiversity (€10 -1.5hrs 4pax min) or get wet and go snorkeling with marine biologists (€25pp 1.5hrs 2pax min). Tide and weather dependent.

FOR MORE INFO EMAIL LUCY ON or call 0877850929

Follow us on Facebook LH MARINE & SEA SYNERGY