Our Ambassador talks to NWT Marketing and Events Intern, Emily Mildren about plastic and secrets; the wonders of the Norfolk Coast, and his new BBC Two series.

We’re excited for your event next week with us at Cley Beach! Can you tell us a bit more about Ocean Commotion and what visitors can expect on the day?
 It’s a day for families with something for everybody. Whether you’re fascinated by marine life, or it’s your first day on the coast, there’s something for you.

What are you hoping from this event?
Firstly that people have fun! That’s most important, but to also harness and develop that connection to the sea. We’ve got about 93 miles of coastline in Norfolk and I want to help develop the connection we have to it.

Why Norfolk? Why UEA?
I come from Norfolk and whilst I’ve travelled much of the world, I’ve never really left! Norfolk is a place that’s always in your heart. UEA because they promote local students’ involvement in conservation. They’re world leaders in research and it’s an incredible opportunity to be a part of that.

Beautiful grey seals on Horsey beach, Helen Stanley

What is your favourite place in Norfolk to see wildlife?

It’s got to be the Broads, or any part of the coast.

Any part, even if you had to just pick one?
Any! I couldn’t pick, because it changes between morning and afternoon. It’s like a wonderful secret that changes all the time.

And do you have a favourite sighting within Norfolk, a favourite species?
The cranes and the grey seals are my favourites. They’re both very different: cranes you’re lucky to get a sighting, and then the grey seals you see by the hundred. They’re lazy, they’re funny, and very smelly.

What role do you think NWT should play in helping to prevent climate change?
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has a huge responsibility within Norfolk. It’s one of the largest Wildlife Trusts in the country and we’ve got the opportunity to act as stewards to guide people in what can be done.

And what do you think the individual should be doing?
It’s a case of do what you can. Take plastics as an example. Some people might be able to stop using plastic straws, others might be able to take part in ditching single use plastic, taking part in plastic free July. We can all do something, nothing is too small.

NWT holds regular beach cleans at Cley

Plastic Free July – how is that going? Any advice for others trying to do the same?

It’s hard and in some ways it’s been horrible. Because I travel a lot - and this month especially - I’ve been finding it’s most difficult when you’re on the go. It just goes to show how hard single use plastic is to avoid.

How can we try and change this, and make it easier for people to go plastic free – should we be focusing on local change or is it the big guys?
Oh it’s the big guys definitely. Not all plastic is bad obviously, but we don’t need to be using all this throwaway stuff. You have power over where you shop, and we need to be sending a message to these corporations that this is not what we want.

Lastly, I read that you’re starting a new series with the BBC, how is that going? Can you tell us what it’s about? Where did you read that?

On your UEA bio! It was quite mysterious, just a brief mention that you were filming something new.
Ah right, yes it’s kept vague because it’s actually a very big secret. All I can tell you is that it’s with BBC Two, it’s taken nearly two years to make, and it’s about something that I’m very passionate about. It’ll be everything, it’s going to make you laugh and cry and be heart-warming all at the same time.

Ocean Commotion is a free day of celebration of the North Norfolk Coast, and takes place on 21 July at Cley Beach. It is part of Cley Calling: Changing Tides Festival
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