Student has sights set on Sri Lanka

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An Ilkeston student and her friend are fundraising to take part in a trip to help conserve marine environments and wildlife in Sri Lanka.

Megan Westwood and Amelia Shaw, both 17, will be cleaning rivers, planting trees and working at a turtle hatchery during the two-and-a-half week stay organised by the company Travelteer.

Both students need to raise around £1,000 each to pay for their travel costs and they are already past the halfway mark thanks to various fundraising activities including a bake sale.

Megan, of Ilkeston, who is studying psychology, English literature and art at Bilborough College, said they were both looking forward to the trip.

She said: “I think I’m most looking forward to working at the turtle hatchery, which will involve staying on the beach overnight and collecting the eggs that are laid so that they can be buried at the hatchery to protect them from predators.

“We got involved after hearing a talk from Travelteer at college. We just thought it would be an amazing trip to be part of and Sri Lanka is not really the sort of place we would normally get the opportunity to visit.”

Amelia, of Heanor, who is studying psychology, biology, Spanish and photography, said she was interested in wildlife and conservation.

She said: “I did a placement at Nottingham Trent University which was to do with marine conservation. I’m also interested to experience the culture as I’ve a started reading up about it.”

The Travelteer programme aims to rehabilitate and conserve the environment and marine life in Sri Lanka by working with the Ministry of Forestry and Environment in the Galle district of Sri Lanka.

Volunteers help with replanting trees, picking them up from the tree nursery and taking them into the jungle, restore beaches to their natural beauty, use giant fishing nets to clean rivers, keep watch over the baby turtles and clean the rehabilitation tanks they live in.

Chris Bradford, principal at Bilborough, said: “Megan and Amelia have an exciting trip in prospect and an opportunity to make a real difference to the environment. We’re really impressed with the initiative they’ve shown and will give them all the support we can with their fund-raising work. “

Anyone who would like to help Megan and Amelia with their fundraising can visit www.goldengiving.com/fundraising/MeganWestwood or www.goldengiving.com/fundraising/AmeliaShaw.

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