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from the quarry, more seeps up and the process starts again.

However, there is hope for Guernsey. The team is now using bio-remediation, which uses naturally-occurring bacteria that eat oil as a food source. Micro-organisms are constantly pumped in and experts believe that all of the oil will have been eaten within a year.

Legendary divers It’s stories like that of the Torrey Canyon that make diving and working on Britain’s Secret Seas Paul’s dream job. Inspired by legendary divers such as Hans Hass, Jacques Cousteau and Mike Nelson, Paul put his troubled schooldays behind him to focus on the natural world. Having failed his 11-Plus exam, Paul was no model scholar and hated school. However, he’s now an enthu- siastic advocate of Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC).

Paul says, “I shone at three things in school – trips away from school, sports and metalwork. Those classrooms were not for me: overheated, incompre- hensible and dull lessons. I was so bored. Then, when I was fourteen, my geography teacher took us outside of the class- room and all the horrors that it held for me. I shall never forget how alive and in tune with nature I felt – those days peeling spuds at the Merthyr Tydfil youth hostel after a day in the hills.

Paul believes that LOtC changes lives. He says it can have a huge effect on the confidence of children for whom traditional teaching is ineffec- tive. With LOtC, young people with different strengths and learning styles can shine and improve their peer and teacher relationships.

For these reasons, Paul backs the work of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, an organisation that believes that every young person should expe- rience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and per- sonal development.

The Council says that learning outside the classroom doesn’t need to be restricted to the summer months and can take place outdoors or indoors. Popular venues include the school grounds, the high street, the local park, museums and art galleries, and mountains and rivers.

One episode of classroom learning that did hit home, though, was Paul’s recent lecture at the University of Cumbria’s gateway facility at Ambleside. Paul’s lecture, entitled ‘Why Explore’, proved to be an inspi- ration to the 80-strong crowd of staff and students. He described his life and work as a naturalist and Polar explorer. Subjects Paul

‘We tend to celebrate the coast

and our great maritime history and yet we often overlook what’s just under the surface in our coastal waters


touched upon included organising teams of field scientists in Antarctica, cave diving and adventure skiing across Greenland. Paul has a strong connection with the area as he relocated to Bowness after a long stint in the United States. On first landing back in the UK, he made his way straight to Ambleside before he’d even unpacked his socks. This was because he’d been read- ing a book called The Adventure Alternative by Colin Mortlock and found it so compelling that he wanted to talk to the author as soon as he got back to the UK.

Passionate Paul says: “We had about 57 cups of tea and a long conversation in Colin’s cottage behind the (Charlotte Mason) college, and I’ve lived in the area, in between my travels, ever since. “I do a huge amount of lecturing all over the world but nowhere near enough locally. I’m absolutely delighted to have this chance to come and speak to outdoor-studies students at the University of Cumbria to talk about a topic I feel passionately about, in a place I really care for. I want to do all I can to sup- port the university here in Ambleside.” Britain’s Secret Seas can be seen on Sunday evenings at 8pm on BBC2. Those who missed it can catch up with the series on BBC iPlayer.

actionetwork 29

Photo by BBC.

Photo by BBC.

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