Scottish Seabird charity group to open ‘nationally significant’ visitor centre

The Scottish Seabird Centre has unveiled its plans for a new visitor centre at its site in North Berwick, near Edinburgh.

The £5.5m proposal would continue the work of the Seabird Centre, an educational destination that enables guests to engage with and learn about wildlife. However, the charitable conservation centre, which opened in 2000, is currently struggling to keep up with visitor demand.

The project, dubbed the National Marine Centre, will promote educational and conservation initiatives based around the local ecosystem, as well as working on nationwide programmes and sharing research with environmentalists and visitors. Marine animals and birds will remain at the heart of the mission.

Architects Simpson and Brown, who designed the existing attraction, are collaborating with exhibition designers Event Communications on the new plans. An advisory group of experts and academics, including researchers and scientists, is being consulted on the types of marine exhibits that will be on show.

The plans include an education centre, interactive exhibitions, a new welcome area, shop, dining facilities and panoramic observatory. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is helping support the project through the preliminary stages, and offered £3.5m funding if it goes ahead.

“As a conservation and education charity, we welcome 4,000 school children a year and lead projects such as SOS Puffin,” said project director Grace Martin.

“But we must move with the times to remain viable and to achieve our objectives of inspiring people to care for wildlife and the natural environment. We have more education requests that we can accommodate and visitor expectations are at an all-time-high. Our vision is to create a centre that is of national significance and one that the local community is proud of.”

At the moment, the Scottish Seabird Centre offers a discovery centre, kid’s corner, cafeteria and runs boat trips and walking trips.

“Scottish universities are at the cutting-edge of marine environment research but there are at present limited opportunities for the public to share in this work,” said John Baxter of Scottish Natural Heritage, and Seabird Centre trustee.

“Through public engagement we know there is a high level of interest in our seas, coasts and wildlife. This new attraction will provide an immersive and interactive experience, communicating the latest research and inspiring people to look after our natural world. It is vital that we protect and conserve our seas and their wildlife for future generations,” Baxter said.

Public consultations are taking place in North Berwick on 13 and 19 April.

seabird centre  north berwick  scotland  nature  conservation  national marine centre  marine biology 
The Scottish Seabird Centre has unveiled its plans for a new visitor centre at its site in North Berwick, near Edinburgh. The £5.5m proposal would continue the work of the Seabird Centre, an educational destination that enables guests to engage with and learn about wildlife. However, the charitable conservation centre, which opened in 2000, is currently struggling to keep up with visitor demand. The project, dubbed the National Marine Centre,
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The Scottish Seabird Centre is hoping to expand and update the experience
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