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 experienced skipper with over 30 years experience and is also second coxwain of New Quay Lifeboat.
Steve is a former fisherman and 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 as well as the day to day operations 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 (what was then) the Countryside Council for Wales.
As the Living Seas Science Officer, Sarah now heads up the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales’ Living Seas Marine Team based at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre.
Laura Evans joined Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre in July 2015 as the Living Seas Volunteer Coordinator. Laura will be developing the Living Seas volunteer programme at CBMWC.
Laura has always been passionate about marine mammals and the marine environment. She studied Zoology with Marine Zoology at Bangor University, graduating in 2012. After leaving university she spent 7 months as an intern studying bottlenose dolphin behaviour at the BDRI in Sardinia. Laura assisted with land and boat based field work, data entry and photo identification of dolphins.
She returned to university in 2013 to study Animal Behaviour at the University of Exeter, graduating in 2014. Her masters project focused on communication in European fiddler crabs.
Laura first joined the CBMWC Living Seas Team as a volunteer in March 2015. Now as Living Seas Volunteer coordinator she will be managing the Living Seas volunteers at CMBWC and developing the volunteer programme.
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.
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.
Born in Worcester, Gary moved to New Quay with his family when he was nine years old. As Steve Hartley’s nephew, one of Gary’s first jobs was working with Steve on the Sulaire in 1980 doing deep sea angling trips before Steve began his research survey work.
Gary joined the army in 1991 as an infantry soldier in the 1st Battalion Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters and was stationed in Cyprus, Jordan, Portugal and Northern Ireland.
In 1995 Gary left the army and moved to Cardiff where he had a variety of jobs including croupier, builder’s labourer, railway site safety controller and butcher.
In 2009 Gary was back in New Quay and began crewing on one of the other dolphin watching trip boats and within a year was skippering. Gary is now recovering from shoulder operations but they say that every cloud has a silver lining and in the spring of 2014 Gary began volunteering at CBMWC and will soon be going full circle by skippering for Dolphin Survey Boat Trips next year.
David Martin graduated in 1970 after studying Physics at Birmingham University. He moved to South Wales in 1983 pursuing a career in manufacturing and construction finally retiring to New Quay in 2012. David is a keen walker which developed into an interest in the natural world from all the sightings on his walks. He has previously undertaken voluntary survey work for the British Trust for Ornithology. A recent addition to the volunteers at CBMWC David joined our team in October 2015 wishing to contribute to the preservation of the wildlife that he enjoys seeing so much. When not volunteering he is most likely to be found walking on the coastal path or when the weather is warmer out on his kayak. He is also a member of the residents group campaigning for the restoration and now continuation of the Cardi Bach bus servicing the communities along the South Ceredigion coastal path.
If you would like to become a local volunteer, find out how here.