Thursday 1 June saw Polzeath beach occupied by more than just holiday makers enjoying the half-term sunshine; several marquees dotted the beach for the annual Marine Discovery Day. This day seeks to inform and educate the public about the sea which is so much a part of life down here on the Cornish coast. Along with the National Trust, other groups included Surfers Against Sewage, Your Shore Beach Rangers, Fathoms Free, Cornwall Seal Group and Polzeath Marine Conservation Group among others.
In the Trust stall we had a few activities, including our ever popular wildlife quiz, where both children and adults had two minutes to test their knowledge on coastal plants and animals. It’s always fascinating to see the range of knowledge among people (with the children often outperforming the adults!) but everyone left knowing a little more than before they started.
Another popular activity was the driftwood art in which children of all ages were able to paint and glue what they wished onto a driftwood board, tied with some washed-up beach rope so they can display it proudly at home. This proved so popular that by midday we had run out of boards and were forced to move onto driftwood sticks, which also proved popular, while a colleague quickly ran back to the office to gather up some more boards!
However, the highlight of the day was the sand sculpture competition. Although supposed to start at 1pm, people were so eager that we allowed them to start early. What is so amazing about this event is the level of creativity and passion everyone brings to it. While walking round you overheard some of the proposed plans and ideas people had as a sculpture idea, and couldn’t help but think some of them were too ambitious. But coming back a little while later it was clear to see that people were attempting and succeeding in bringing their creations to life.
Next came what had to be the most difficult part of the day: judging. Bringing together a couple of people from the other stalls, it was up to us to whittle down and sort the entries into a first, second and third; not an easy task with the high standard of sculptures! The judges pondered and deliberated but after a tense discussion, we had made our decision. And so here are the winning entries.
3rd: Moana. Chosen not only for the intricacy and level of detail in the sculpture, but also for the message of female empowerment and ocean conservation it brings.
2nd: Giant shore crab. Chosen for the sheer scale of the piece. As can be seen in the photo, the sculpture was an impressively sized piece, and the level of effort that went into creating it impressed the judges.
1st: Seal rock. Although not as grand in scale as the previous entry; the design of the piece, incorporating multiple seals, stood out from the other entries. What really secured this piece in first place was the moving story from the young girl who created it. She was absolutely taken with seals, having a room full of cuddly seals back home. Earlier in the week she had gone out on a boat trip and saw seals on an island, so when it came to creating a sculpture she knew exactly what she was going to make. This passion for wildlife, particularly coastal species, is exactly what the spirit of Marine Discovery Day is all about, and resonated with all the judges present, making it the winning entry.
Unfortunately not everyone can be a winner, but the judges were impressed by all the entries and so below you’ll find a couple of honourable mentions.
And so we are finished for another year. Hopefully we can make next years’ event bigger and better and we look forward to seeing what new sculptures will grace the beach! We hope everyone this year had as much fun as we did!
Tintagel to Holywell