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Meet The Team

Ben Porter

Photographer

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Ben is a lifelong naturalist with a passion for birds, wildlife photography and the outdoors.

 

An upbringing on a remote island off North Wales has ensured he's been snagged firmly by a love for the marine environment, and an acute awareness and desire for the need to protect it.

For the last three years he has been studying Conservation Biology at the University of Exeter's Cornwall campus - a fittingly small and coastal university for someone who's lived on an island no bigger than a few kilometres squared for the last 11 years.

 

His aspiration for the future is to combine photography, research, and public communication with applied conservation work to fight against the worrying loss of biodiversity currently facing the planet. 

Meret Jucker

Svalbard Liaison Officer

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Put me on a boat and I'm happy, especially if it’s a sailboat! My fasciation for the sea really took hold when I had the opportunity to sail with the TOPtoTOP Global Climate Expedition for 6 months from Tobago to Hawaii. Studying Conservation Biology and Ecology at the University of Exeter allowed me to combine my two passions: sailing and Research. I have since sailed and done research in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic. I am particularly interested in how and why marine ecosystems are changing and what this means for both us and the species inhabiting them. After having collected micro-plastic samples for Adventure Scientists in the Canadian Arctic, I am excited to do a more in-depth study in Svalbard this summer. It’s a privilege to be part of such an amazing, diverse team dedication to making positive long-term change.

Rob Arnold

Artist/RPBC

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Born into a farming family in Cornwall, I developed a love for wildlife, a deep interest in the environment and a desire to protect it.

 

I work closely with Claire Wallerstein of Rame Peninsula Beach Care (RPBC). With my engineering background I have devised methods for removing and sorting millions of nurdles and micro-plastics from the sand. My mechanised form of beach archaeology has flagged up various sources of long standing and persistent plastic pollution, ranging from the low level but not insignificant plastics related to the annual Poppy Appeal through to the millions of bio-beads that continue to escape from water treatment works.

Individually separating and quantifying specific items has provided us with hard evidence that can be used in campaigns to reduce the pollution at source.

Moira Connor 

 Expedition Founder

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Growing up my friends never had to ask me where I’d be going on my summer holidays…the answer would always be Scotland. I feel most at home on the rugged beaches of The Mull of Kintyre where we spend every summer, though every year I’ve been increasingly saddened and frustrated by the amount of litter washing up on places that once felt so untouched. In 2015 I received the Richard Sandbrook Award to carry out Beach Litter Surveying Tour of The Southern Hebrides for The Marine Conservation Society. Sorting and counting the litter after each beach clean really brought home the scale the threat our coastlines face and the need for change. I was lucky to get the opportunity to volunteer on-board the Tall Ship Blue Clipper last summer whilst sailing the East Coast of Canada. Three weeks wasn’t long enough though and only gave me a glimpse of life at sea, so I can’t wait to get back on-board!

 

Flora Rendell-Bhatti

Scientific Director

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My broad interests lie in the conservation of our seas and the effects of anthropogenic pollution on marine life. My current research is focused on understanding the effect of microplastics contamination on embryonic development of marine larvae, at The University of Exeter's Penryn Campus. I strongly believe that scientists must make an effort to collaborate and merge environmental outreach and education with their research, in order to make positive change regarding environmental issues. Therefore, I am a Plastic Free Community Leader with Surfers Against Sewage and continuously seek out projects which will communicate the issues facing our fragile natural world.

Tom Auld

Science Officer/Filmmaker

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I am a student of conservation biology and ecology at the University of Exeter and my time while not studying is spent travelling and helping with research around the UK or abroad. I have a passion for both landscape and wildlife photography and love to produce wildlife films. I hope to convey the wonder and intrigue of the natural world while raising awareness of critical issues through my work.

Lowenna Jones

Scientific Director

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As a passionate environmental activist and conservation biologist I am increasingly aware of the barriers to science. It is in my interest to further awareness and education of the ever-growing issues facing our earth through media and forms easily accessible to the greater population. Combining this with my particular interest in anthropogenic marine pollution, my role as a Surfers Against Sewage Regional Representative has given me the opportunity to communicate and empower individuals, through the concept of community collaboration and outreach. My current research lies in the field of plastic pollution, focusing more specifically on how microplastics and their pollutants affect the embryonic development of marine larvae at The University of Exeter.

Jess Grimsdale

Artist

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I’m Jess, illustrator, wild-woman, and sea enthusiast, probably a seal in a previous life. Every day I wake up and think how lucky I am to live in Falmouth, where I can be running into the sea within five minutes of leaving the house. It’s a huge part of who I am, and to be given the opportunity to combine this passion with other important aspects of my life, such as art, community engagement and environmental activism, is very exciting. The arts are a fantastic avenue to make change, and it’s imperative to consider the lasting impacts of expeditions as influential as this. Bringing together a crew as diverse as ours is a massive step forward, and I can’t thank the Sail Against Plastic team for inviting me on board.

Claire Wallerstein

RPBC

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I grew up by the sea in Cornwall, and it was only really after coming back to live here decades later that I recognised the huge changes that have happened in my lifetime. Where I used to play with driftwood and shells my children were now surrounded by marine plastic waste. Before returning to Cornwall I had worked for years as a foreign correspondent in the Philippines and Venezuela, then as a press officer at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and later as a Spanish-English translator. The skills I developed over these years have all proved very useful since I set up the charity Rame Peninsula Beach Care (www.ramepbc.org) back in 2013. We're a passionate Cornish community beach cleaning group, having removed well over 2,500 sacks of marine litter from our tiny stretch of coast at Whitsand Bay in just five years. We do much more than just beach cleaning though, campaigning on many marine plastic issues, writing reports, giving talks, collaborating in scientific research and working with amazing local artists who turn much of the debris we collect into awareness-raising artworks, helping to tell the story of what is happening to our oceans to a much wider audience.

Daniel Osmond 

 Scientific Officer

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I’m Dan, a third year Zoology student at the University of Exeter. My keen interest in the world’s ecosystems, and concern of our impacts upon it, has led me to undertake a research project investigating factors affecting the recolonization rates of marine gastropods in response to commercial exploitation. Such information equips us to be able to act sustainably, conserving these resources for future generations. This however requires good public communication to generate responsible change at an individual level to have an impact on the damaging effects of human consumption. Since moving to Cornwall, it has been a delight to integrate theory into practice, being able to source my diet from growing veg, foraging for seafood and catching fish- things that we can all do! 

Mari Huws 

Filmmaker 

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I graduated from the Edinburgh Collage of Art with an MA in documentary Film Directing in 2015. Since then I've worked as a filmmaker for a charity in Tokyo,  I've been an Assistant Warden on the remote Welsh Island, Ynys Enlli and last year I embarked on my first independent creative project, Bad Oil, documenting the effects of the Palm Oil industry on Indonesia. Currently working for the Welsh TV production company, Cwmni Da- this was an unmissable opportunity to collaborate and bring the story and reality of plastic pollution in the ocean back home to Wales. 

Born and raised between the mountains and the sea in North Wales- I have a gravity inside me that keeps pulling me out into the wilder spaces- this has rooted in me a love for it and an unshakable sense of responsibility to protect it. I hope to do this through my creativity and the power of film, written word and image to communicate a message. 

 

www.marihuws.com 

Simon Pierce

Photographer

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Simon is a marine conservation biologist and underwater photographer from New Zealand. He is a co-founder and Principal Scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation, where he leads the global whale shark research and conservation program. He is also a Co-Chair for the Sub-Equatorial Africa region within the IUCN Shark Specialist Group.

Georgina Maxwell

 Artist

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'Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act'

-Einstein

 

For the last twenty years my eco-art practice has responded to the plight of cetaceans and other marine inhabitants in their struggle for survival within a desensitized, plastic-addicted society.

 

The need to become a custodian of all living beings is paramount in my work...these beautiful, intelligent, sentient beings of the ocean are our relatives... I feel the interconnectedness.

 

My contemporary art practice merges ecocentric ethics, spiritual philosophy, Green theory, 'The Re-enchantment of Art',  and scientific research within a conceptual framework of installations, performance pieces, art-activism and framed works

 

This interdisciplinary approach combines the transformative power of art with the tangible goals of fighting against plastic ocean pollution.

BA – Fine Art /Constructed Textiles - Central St. Martin's School of Art

 

MA – Fine Art: Contemporary Practice - Falmouth University

Flavia Pinto

 Artist

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There are three main thing which drive my life: nature, awareness, and art. To bring the three together is my goal, and I am delighted to have such a perfect opportunity to make it happen.

Having studied Drawing at Falmouth, I am specializing in Printmaking. Besides reportage and scientific drawing, I like to use actual data, maps and graphs, and abstract them into the visual realm.

 

I also conduct Drawing & Awareness workshops. With these I offer to all kinds of people a deeper connection with themselves and their surroundings, and an opportunity to better understand the way in which they address and analyse at the world.

Jamie Haigh

UAV Pilot Videographer

Born and raised in South West, I have always had a natural affinity to the sea and the "great outdoors" as a whole. I have often been lucky enough to live only metres from the waters edge allowing me to kayak, sail and enjoy the water, in my spare time.

 

Over the years, this proximity has brought with it the stark realisation of the deteriorating condition of some of our most precious coastline. I own and run Shield Media Services Ltd ( www.shieldmediaservices.co.uk ) providing aerial and ground filming and photography  and keep myself involved as a UAV pilot and videographer.

 

I am a keen environmentalist and have been searching for a projects that would allow me to combine my experience and skills with drone technology with my desire to make a real and quantifiable impact on some of the growing environmental issues that we face.

 

Joining the Sail Against Plastic team has allowed me to realise that goal, for which I am very grateful."       

Matt Wall

Film Editor

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My name is Matt Wall, I'm a Zoology student at the University of Exeter and I'm working towards becoming a Wildlife Cameraman.

 

In future, I hope to create wildlife films that will inspire and reconnect people with the natural world, showing them that nature is worth protecting and that they can play a part in doing so. From conservationists and local people on the frontline of research to individual animals providing intimate insights into their world, I aim to create stories that will engage wide audiences which will have an impact on them.