INTRODUCTION

Project Seagrass is an environmental charity devoted to the conservation of seagrass ecosystems through education, influence, research and action.

Our four key principles define how we act. As such, we’re passionate about:

  • educating the wider community on the presence and importance of seagrass ecosystems, the services they provide and current seagrass management issues,
  • building the capacity of local stakeholders in the use of standardised scientific methodologies,
  • promoting and assisting with long-term monitoring of seagrass condition,
  • assisting with scientific research and supporting conservation measures that help facilitate the long-term resilience of seagrass ecosystems.
MISSION

To lead societal change to enable the recognition, recovery and resilience of seagrass ecosystems globally; that provide biodiversity, equitable and sustainable livelihoods, and planetary life support.

VISION

A world in which seagrass meadows are thriving, abundant and well managed for people and planet.

VALUES

Project Seagrass was created with the intention with reversing the loss of seagrass by turning research into effective conservation action and communication through partnerships with local communities and other stakeholders.

If our journey as an organisation has taught us anything, it is that achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and how we work together. As a dedicated interdisciplinary team we are passionate about securing a future for seagrass. We believe; indeed, experience has taught us, that only by bringing together a diverse range of identities, experiences and perspectives can we respond to global challenges.

PHILOSOPHY

In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.
Baba Dioum, Senegalese Conservationist
UNITED APPROACH
Project Seagrass was created with the approach of turning cutting-edge research into effective conservation action and education schemes, by collaborating with local communities and other stakeholders. As a dedicated team of seagrass scientists, we work to protect seagrass, and through seagrass, we support marine conservation more broadly.
SIMPLE BEGININGS
The philosophy that Project Seagrass prides itself on evolved independently in the minds of its 3 founders. While pursuing masters degrees at Swansea University, Benjamin Jones and Richard ‘RJ’ Lilley each developed a passion for seagrass meadows and quickly realised that these ecosystems were under threat and were ignored in conservation agendas. In May 2013 Ben created Project Seagrass, a platform to help deliver seagrass science to the public, using social media to help disseminate information. At the same time, RJ, and their supervisor at the time, Dr Richard Unsworth were looking to strengthen seagrass science in Wales and formed the Welsh Seagrass Network.

Realising that they were all on a similar page, in July 2013, Project Seagrass was born, with the primary belief that education is key in the fight to conserve seagrass.

Executive Directors

We’re a small team of scientists and conservationists with offices at the Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. We work all over the world, with current research and conservation projects in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Benjamin Jones

Founding Director

About Ben

Ben works at the nexus of research, policy and communication and  has a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from Swansea University as well as an MRes Degree in Aquatic Ecology and Conservation. Ben’s currently based at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University where he is conducting a PhD on the linkages between seagrass meadows, fisheries and poverty alleviation in the Indo-Pacific. Ben has over 8 years of experience working with seagrass ecosystems in the tropics, having conducted research in Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Mozambique and Mexico.

Dr Richard 'RJ' Lilley

Founding Director

About RJ

RJ is passionate about education, particularly marine science communication and outdoor learning. His work focuses on the sustainable supply chain management of small-scale capture fisheries. He is particularly interested in the role of seagrass meadows in providing local food security and is currently working with an international team on an International Climate Initiative (IKI) project with this focus. His work domestically is focussed on developing seagrass meadow (Zostera marina) restoration opportunities across Scotland. RJ has over nine years experience of research in marine systems. He has primarily worked in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas and more recently the North Atlantic Ocean.  He is a qualified PADI and BSAC scuba-diving instructor and recreational free diver.

Dr Richard Unsworth

Founding Director

About Richard

Richard is a lecturer marine ecology and leads the Seagrass Ecosystem Research Group at Swansea University. Richard’s expertise lie in the ecological structuring processes of marine systems and the implications of these systems for society. This focuses primarily on the interrelationships between foundation species, habitat, and associated productive fauna (mainly fish). He is particularly interested in the consequences of cross-scale environmental changes on seagrass meadows functioning and the implications of this for global food security and other ecosystem services. Richard has more than twelve years’ experience of research in marine systems and conducts collaborative interdisciplinary research in Europe, Australia, Indonesia, Columbia and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Dr Leanne Cullen-Unsworth

Director

About Leanne

Leanne is a Senior Research Fellow at the Sustainable Places Research InstituteCardiff University. Leanne’s research interests are in coupled social-ecological systems and sustainability in the marine environment, in particular, marine and coastal resource use and management. She currently leads an international project investigating drivers of seagrass decline across multiple scales throughout SE Asia. Through her role as a director of Project Seagrass she is working to improve our understanding of seagrass systems in the UK and raise awareness of their ecosystem service value. Co-development of solutions to resource problems using a variety of mixed methodological approaches, including cooperative research, is a strong interest of hers.

CORE TEAM AND AMBASSADORS

Sam Rees

Technical Officer

Evie Furness

Education and Engagement Officer

Bethan Thomas

Project Officer

Jake Davies

Ambassador

STUDENTS, INTERNS & VOLUNTEERS

TRUSTEEs (Bio’s coming soon)

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GOVERNANCE

Our commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

If the last seven years has taught us anything at Project Seagrass, it’s that achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and how we work together. We believe; indeed, experience has taught us, that only by bringing together a diverse range of identities, experiences and perspectives can we tackle complex crises. It is only though celebrating and harnessing diversity of experience that we will be able to work towards creating a future where seagrasses and society can truly prosper.  We evidenced our commitment to this when we organised the International Seagrass Biology Workshop in 2016. We included a Code of Conduct to ensure that our event was a safe space for all, no matter of their gender, gender identity, heritage, sexual orientation, or any other factor. It was the first and only event in the workshops 27-year history to do so.

Central to our ethos is a determination to ‘live our values’, and as we embark on this next chapter of our journey, we are committed to creating a work culture of belonging. A work environment where all team members are valued for who they are and given equal opportunity to grow and succeed, with no discrimination on the basis of their race, colour, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, or identification with any marginalised community in the countries where we work.

Diversity, equity and inclusion can look different in every country, and whilst we have worked to champion and celebrate our Welsh roots, we know we have work still do to if we wish to meet the ideals of the organisation we wish to become.

Project Seagrass is committed to taking clear, concerted steps to diversify our team:

  • We will develop inclusive position descriptions that open doors for different types of backgrounds, experiences, and education, and that use language which welcomes a more diverse group of candidates.
  • We will ensure our teams foster equity, inclusion, and belonging and that diverse perspectives are valued in decision-making.
  • We will intentionally coach and mentor diverse talent.
  • We will support the expansion of workplace groups to build community for underrepresented groups, and to elevate their voices within the organisation.

Whilst we acknowledge our team is currently small, we are expecting to grow our organisation rapidly, and therefore this commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion reflects our vision for the charity we wish to become.

Project Seagrass is committed to taking steps to be more inclusive in our work:

  • We will ensure that our team adheres to our Code of Conduct for all events
  • We will endeavour to advertise events and volunteer opportunities to all members of society.

We will seek to transform our online platforms to ensure that they use inclusive language and imagery, that is needed to foster a more diverse marine conservation community.

INCOME
SPEND

Trustees’ annual report
& accounts

2015/16

Trustees’ annual report
& accounts

2016/17

Trustees’ annual report
& accounts

2017/18

Trustees’ annual report
& accounts

2018/19