The project is coming to its end. It has been an extraordinary spring with all the changes in the study arrangements due to the coronavirus. As we had to do all the work for the project remotely, we can only guess if the outcome is possibly different than what it would have been if we would have worked at the university the whole time. Still, probably not better or worse, though. Anyhow, we have a solution!
As underwater noise is not a commonly known problem even among the boaters, our solution was to raise awareness about the matter. Our aim is to reach every generation affecting the underwater noise and to increase their knowledge about it. The solutions we have presented and constructed for the Baltic Sea Challenge are an info poster, kids’ activity booklet, and a social media campaign.
We created the poster to increase knowledge about the effects of underwater noise and to remind people about what they can do in their everyday lives to reduce underwater noise. It is meant for every boating café and club to reach the boating community. Through the QR-code, people will be able to find more information, for example about how species are affected by the underwater noise.
The kids’ activity booklet was created because kids are future boaters. The aim is to educate a new enlightened boater generation through fun and play. The booklet includes child friendly information, pictures, word puzzles and a quiz created for children aged 7-13 and it’s intended for schools and boating courses across the country.
The social media campaign will introduce the issue to the boater and coastal community and will show people how their actions can have an impact. The campaign includes 15 posts in May of 2020 in Instagram, Linked-In, Facebook and Twitter, and it will be identified by #hiljaisempiitämeri and #melusaastehaaste.
Last week we tested our prototypes (the kids activity booklet and the poster) on our friends who are boaters or fishermen, and kids we know. The feedback we got from them was positive and constructive, and with their help we continued developing our campaign forward. Many people in our testing groups said they had never heard that underwater noise can have an impact on ecosystems and that noise can affect so many different animals. This shows us that this type of project is definitely needed. The subject is also very current, since this week in their science section, Helsingin Sanomat wrote about the effects of underwater noise to whales, coupled with an ad for motorboats.
We have met online usually a couple times a week throughout the course. We are lucky to have so good technology nowadays to tackle the distance. The shared material reached everyone and working together remotely went smoothly. And in this weird social distancing time, the course provided some much-needed structure and social contacts to cover for the lack of lectures.
We are really excited to see the Baltic Sea Challenge launch our campaign and share this information with the boating community and other people living by the Baltic Sea. Fish don’t wear earplugs, so after all, people are the solution! We are hopeful to hear nothing but the lovely waves from Baltic Sea in the future.