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a man standing next to a body of water

By Harvey Merrifield

This summer, I had the privilege of interning with Sea Synergy as a Marine Education and Research Intern. I have been working in Cahersiveen Co.Kerry, Ireland and the local area since the 1st of August 2023 as part of my BSc (Hons) Ocean Science and Marine Conservation placement year at The University of Plymouth.

Sea Synergy is a Marine Awareness, Research and Activity Centre that provides educational activities, outdoor adventures and marine science research. As an intern, I was granted lots of responsibilities. During the calmer weather over the summer months I assisted activities such as kayaking, snorkelling and stand up paddle boarding for clients of a variety of ages and abilities. I helped deliver talks and workshops to local schools for an education programme and had the role of managing the organisation’s social media. 

Outside of activities and education, I accompanied the team in their research to survey the population of European Native Oysters in the Portmagee Channel. By collecting data during intertidal and snorkel surveys, I learnt invaluable skills in species identification, surveying and scientific report writing. Throughout our research I had the chance to put the skills I have learnt at University into practice and develop these further in a professional working environment. This was the main reason I chose to do a placement and believe I’ve gained experience I can take with me throughout my career in the future.

Citizen science and community engagement is also a big part of the Sea Synergy Oyster Project; this meant I was responsible for sharing our research with the public during school presentations and events. While at first, public speaking was something I felt less confident in, it has been rewarding to see so many of the children fascinated by our work and to present something I have a genuine passion for. I think the most valuable experiences I can take from my placement both in and outside of work, have come from being pushed out of my comfort zone and having to persist.

The best thing about my placement has been to work with such great people in such an awesome location. I have loved living and exploring in Kerry and am grateful to have met some really brilliant people!