DofE participant helps to save the seals

Melissa Bonnett is currently completing her Bronze Award at Paignton Academy. For the volunteering section of the award she has been helping out at The Seal Project in South Devon.

Melissa said: “I got involved with DofE as it would be a nice thing to do and it would give me opportunities to try out new things. Since I started volunteering, I have photographed seals and helped out with raising money for The Seal Project. I think my volunteering is helping me make new relationships and build on ones with my friends and teachers. I would love to continue volunteering after I finish. I am enjoying watching the seals’ antics.

The Seal Project is an organisation that monitors and protects grey seals. It strives to reduce negative impact and raise awareness of the importance of protecting the species. Around half of the world’s population of grey seals are found around the British Isles, however they are a globally rare species. Numbers of African elephants and British red squirrels are higher than the global population of grey seals.

Sarah Greenslade is the founder of The Seal Project: “Melissa has assisted in searching for seals and identifying them for research purposes. The aim of the project is to raise awareness. Photographs are taken of seals in the area and then added to the database. The task of sifting through photos of seals and matching them to already identified seals is time consuming so this was of great assistance.

Jo Firminger-Mathieu is the DofE Manager at Paignton Academy: “Melissa has shown an increase in confidence since she has started the award and has begun to come out of her shell. She is beginning to participate in more activities at school and is blossoming in to a very sensitive and aware young person.”

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