Coastal scientists at Edge Hill University are making waves on the internet after launching their own YouTube channel in a bid to inspire the next generation of learners to protect the world’s coastlines. 

Professor Irene Delgado-Fernandez, from the Department of Geography and Geology, has co-ordinated and produced Coasts for Kids, a series of short, educational videos to teach primary school children aged six to eight about the vital role that coasts play in our ecosystem.  

Developed in partnership with Sefton Council and Southport Eco Visitor Centre, the Coasts for Kids videos have attracted global attention from across the international coastal community. Coastal scientists from other universities in the UK, Canada, Australia, Spain, France, and Mexico were involved in the project, as well as teachers and community artists.  

The series of five videos have been narrated by school children in Sefton and are designed to empower children to understand the often complex language used in coastal science, in the hope that they will develop a greater awareness and interest in the challenges facing the world’s coastlines from an early age. 

Prof Irene Delgado-Fernandez is a coastal geomorphologist and marine geoscientist and lead researcher on the Coasts to Kids project. 

Prof Delgado-Fernandez said: “Our coastlines are under serious threat from rising sea levels, coastal erosion and flooding. These are significant challenges for our global community, and it’s critical that we educate children about this issue from an early age.  

“One day this will be their world and their responsibility, so it’s vital that they are empowered with the knowledge to understand and enjoy learning about the precious and irreplaceable landscapes that make up our coasts. 

“These children hold the potential within them to one day be the scientists and leaders with the power to influence the policies and decision-making that can protect our coastlines. It has been a wonderful experience to work with the children and to help them learn the language we use so often in our research. Not only has it bettered their understanding of our coasts, but it has reinforced our own knowledge and process on how we communicate our work to young people.” 

Coasts for Kids is a collaborative experience between children and their parents, coastal scientists, community artists, teachers, animators and coastal managers. 

Michelle Barnes, Lead Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Officer for Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service, said: “In Sefton we have 22-miles of stunning dynamic coastline, constantly changing with tides, winds, waves, storms and people. It is important that we understand how these have shaped our coast over the years and will continue to do so into the future and with the threat of climate change.  

“The Council’s Green Sefton team are incredibly proud to have supported this project, with my own son Henry, taking part to record a voiceover for episode two of the series. I know that these lasting resources will help to inform children and adults alike across the globe about how our coasts work, how precious they are, and I hope they will encourage and inspire more people into roles like my own where we are doing all we can to better understand and manage our changing coastline now and in the future.”  

Darren Lloyd, Resident Teacher and Education Projects Co-ordinator,said: “Throughout much of our work the main ethos has always been about creating platforms to equip our young people with the skills and confidence to become educators in their own right. The Coast for Kids series is a fantastic tool to allow both teachers and parents to nurture this. As ambassadors for the future it is paramount that they understand the impact, both negative and positive, we can have on our environment.” 

The series is also available via the Eco Centre’s website for download in high resolution and supporting teacher/parent notes and the education team will be working on curriculum focussed resources to support the series in the near future. 

This latest project builds on from a series of important coastal research projects undertaken by Edge Hill’s Geography and Geology department. In 2020 the University was awarded £25,000 from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to explore how coastal communities in Thailand can use data to manage risks around climate change.  

If you would like to study Geography, Edge Hill University offers a variety of courses including BA (Hons) GeographyBSc (Hons) GeographyBSc (Hons) Geoenvironmental Hazards and BSc (Hons) Geography and Geology