Education programme expands with marine motorsport partnership

Ashley Sponaugle,P1 Marine Foundation Ambassador

Ashley Sponaugle,P1 Marine Foundation Ambassador

This year P1 Marine Foundation has worked with the Powerboat P1 race series on both sides of the Atlantic and developed an environmental programme that was focused on raising awareness of the threats to the marine environment.

Powerboat P1 provided the opportunity to engage with motorsport competitors, spectators and fans in a sport where the well-being of the sea is now top of mind.

For the programme we appointed local ambassadors and launched an education campaign to involve local schools and universities.

Students from Cardiff High School

Students from Cardiff High School

Ashley Sponaugle, P1 Aqua X racer in the USA and Nick Williams, who races for the IFX team in the P1 SuperStock UK race series, have been instrumental this year in creating awareness. From providing information for event programmes to creating video messages, the ambassadors have played a major role in acting as leaders for environmental responsibility on and off the race course.

In the UK, P1 Marine Foundation joined with Powerboat P1 to deliver presentations on environmental responsibility to students at local schools prior to the race events, with up to 500 children taking part from schools such as Cardiff High School.

At the Bournemouth race event in May the Foundation joined with Bournemouth University to showcase the Boscombe Artificial Surf Reef Project via an exhibition area in the race village. Similarly at the P1 Welsh Gran Prix of the Sea, Cardiff University School of Earth and Ocean Sciences research projects were exhibited via an ocean acidification experiment, live zebra mussels, information on Cardiff Bay as well as posters on invasive species and coastal management.

In the US, P1 Marine Foundation partnered with Powerboat P1 USA, St Johns Riverkeeper and the Marine Science Research Institute to develop an educational guide that provides information on St Johns River and environmental responsibility for the general public and water enthusiasts. In addition a teaching resource pack was sent out to local schools to give students an understanding of the local marine environment, human impacts and how it affects the health of rivers and oceans.

For the Tampa race event in Florida, Powerboat P1 partnered with P1 Marine Foundation, Stow It Don’t Throw It and Tampa Bay Estuary Program to develop an ‘On the water guide’ which included information on Tampa Bay, its wildlife and tips on how to be environmentally responsible.

Plans for 2015 are close to being finalised and will see the Foundation again partnering with the P1 race championship in both the UK and USA. The programme will be expanded through recruiting additional volunteers with a Foundation stand appearing at all six race venues in Florida to heighten environmental awareness and provide education at all levels.