Environmental Module

Working with the Environment

Seaweed focus small

A Professional Course for Outdoor Instructors and Guides on marine and coastal life

Course Authored and presented by: DR Lou Luddington

Module Aims:

The aim of this course is to provide ISKGA Guides with essential knowledge about some of the marine and coastal life that thrives in the British coastal environment in which they work. Developing an awareness of the diversity of marine life that thrives along the coasts as well as any codes of conduct in place to protect it, will enhance the quality of trips and expeditions that they may run and encourage an appreciation of the marine environment in general.

This course is specifically aimed at sea kayakers and guides in the UK as part of their Continuing Professional Development. It is designed to complement instructing and guiding qualifications and is delivered in a way that is fun and memorable with minimal use of scientific terms and jargon.


The coastal environment

  • Physical conditions and tides
  • Zonation, what is it and what causes it?
  • Local codes of conduct, conservation areas and designations protecting habitats and wildlife

Marine Life

Ecology and life cycles of key animals and plants commonly seen whilst sea kayaking:

  • Sea birds, marine mammals, sharks = the Megafauna!
  • Jellyfish and their allies
  • Life between the tides- from lichens and barnacles to seaweeds and grazing snails, we will take a look at the strategies used to thrive in the zone where land and sea collide

Identification skills

  • The use of simple biological keys to identify some common seaweeds will focus attention on the finer details of intertidal life

Encouraging mindfulness

By taking time to be quiet and mindful of the surrounding environment we can build a sense of awe and appreciation for the natural world

  • A short exercise of scene setting in the intertidal zone where we imagine what life is like for life that thrives there during the extremes of seasonal weather conditions

Tips for incorporating some coastal ecology in to sessions

  • ‘Drip feed’ of information through out
  • Focused sessions within the session
  • Creating your own top 5 or 10 facts to share


By the end of the course students will:

Know about codes of conduct, conservation areas and designations protecting local habitats and species

Have gained an overview of life in the marine and coastal environment relevant to their activity

Have detailed knowledge of a ‘top 10’ fact about marine and coastal life

Have begun to draw up their own ‘top 5 or 10’ facts

Be able to use a simple biological key to identify some common seaweed’s in order to focus their attention on features that may help them to remember names and facts, for example the serrated edge of serrated wrack.

Know what zonation is and why it occurs and be able to tell the state of tide from the water level relative to the key zones

Be able to use a short mindfulness exercise as a way of connecting their group/clients with their natural surroundings

Have a plan of action to incorporate their new knowledge in to regular sessions

Scheme of work/structure

1 or 2 day course involving short classroom sessions and longer practical sessions whilst sea kayaking

Delivery methods

The course will follow a workshop style of delivery, combining short classroom sessions to introduce the topic followed by practical sessions sea kayaking.

Learning approaches

By using a combination of talks and classroom sessions to introduce topics and facts, followed by practical sessions to reiterate and build on this information and finally a fun pub-style quiz to finish, a variety of learning styles are catered for on the course.


Slide show of top 10 facts about marine and coastal life, outdoor learning flash cards, pub-style photo quiz to finish course

Administration & operation

Courses will be administered by Luddington Marine and operated at venues convenient to course participants where there are classroom facilities close to relevant activity venues.


Courses will be run by Dr Lou Luddington, a marine biologist and outdoor practitioner with 10 years’ experience delivering talks and workshops to fellow outdoor practitioners on marine life through the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group  and ISKGA Centers around the UK