Nigel Welford – Star Scientist in Residence

Common Dolphin

Seas Your Future is not only taking teenagers on board for a voyage of sail training and personal development, but as part of the Ocean Science programme, are also giving young scientists the chance to gain experience with outreach, citizen science and conducting some of their own research.

Nigel was one of them and turned out to be a real STAR!

Nigel Welford was among the Scientists in Residence I interviewed and selected to join the Pelican of London for outreach and scientific research in the summer of 2022. He was voted ‘STAR’ Scientist in Residence by the professional crew, who praised him for his infectious enthusiasm for all things living in and above the ocean and his willingness to help out on deck wherever the need arose – a true shipmate with excellent outreach credentials.

After his first week on board, Nigel summarised his experience to the Scientist in Residence community:

Hey all, I recently spent a week aboard the pelican of London as a Scientist in Residence between Dublin and Cork. Although this week brought many challenges, it also let me experience both how to construct and manage flexible science programs for large groups of secondary school students, and basic to intermediate sail training knowledge. I never thought there’d be a chance where the two would meet!

Furthermore, as a marine biologist I was incredibly lucky to be able to study my field whilst in the field itself! I saw more marine megafauna in the last week than ever before. Additionally, the range of equipment on board meant that a number of different projects were possible which really helped in delivering the STEM* course throughout the week including a seaweed survey followed by a quick practical class on marine macrophytes when we anchored near Newport.

The unpredictability of the weather in the Irish Sea meant we never knew what projects we would be able to do, keeping me busy in trying to design different potential weather dependant activities.

If anything, this trip will serve as a confidence booster in your own abilities. You’ll have to adapt and rise to the challenges that will inevitably come from operating in such a small space with the same faces. Teamwork must be built and friendships will be made. All in all an undoubtedly humbling and incredible experience.

I invited Nigel back onto the Pelican for a second voyage this summer, and his report of the whole experience is provided below:

*STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics. I designed a modular STEM curriculum that utilises equipment and scientific instrumentation on board and is available to Scientists in Residence to dip in, delivering theory and experiments during workshops.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: