What’s going on?

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) are offering a whole range of options for young people to be a part of our Great British Beach Clean this year. There will be FREE online lessons for pupils, youth groups and their supporting teams to introduce the Source to Sea project, self-lead activities with resources that are open to everyone, support from trained staff and volunteers and a celebration virtual event to come together and share what everyone has been up to. We’re also offering follow up online lessons to participating groups to support them on their conservation journey.

What activities can young people join?

Let’s Go! Launch Live Lesson 21st September with 2 sessions (primary and secondary)

The MCS team will introduce why litter is such an issue for the planet, show what they usually find on beaches, describe how it gets there and launch the Source to Sea project. Sessions will be recorded for those who can’t make the live times.

Beach Clean and Litter Survey

At the heart of the challenge is the MCS Beachwatch beach clean and survey. 2020 will be the 27th year of the Great British Beach Clean.

Getting out to the beach to do a clean with a litter survey is a great way to introduce children of all ages to one of the UKs largest citizen science projects, that not only cleans up our beaches, but that also provides real-world data on beach litter. The data is used by the UK Government, campaigning organisations and by partners internationally.

Teachers and group leaders close to the coast can run a beach clean with a group or class, between 18th and 25th September. Register your private event on the Beachwatch website and all resources are downloadable here www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/

For support on how to do this, the Marine Conservation Society team are on hand to help on beachwatch@mcsuk.org or 01989 561 571

Source to Sea Litter Quest

For schools and groups that can’t get out to the shore, ‘Source to Sea Litter Quest’ represents a fun, useful, hands-on activity that can be done anywhere. Did you know that 80% of the litter on UK beaches has travelled there from our towns, parks and rivers? In #LitterQuest, commonly littered items like plastic bottles, cans and face masks are recorded (and removed) to create a picture of the litter plaguing our environment. Getting involved will allow children to see the connection between their own actions away from the sea and the health of our oceans. A full education pack including guidance on running the project, leading the Litter Quest and follow up activity suggestions is available at


Dive into Data (optional)

For older groups, there will be a chance to explore a 10 year dataset of MCS’ Beachwatch data, complete a self-lead task and get young people thinking about the issues of a throw-away society and how these data are analysed, compared and communicated. The optional activities extend and embed the practical learning, back in class.

Celebration Event: Online Lesson 25th September

Join a 30 minute live celebration and sharing of the learning experienced over the week. There are sessions for primary and secondary ages. Suggestions for next steps of engagement with litter and single-use plastic and opportunities for follow-up learning will be introduced.

Enhanced Support for Children, Teachers and Partner Organisations

Where possible (capacity permitting) MCS will offer additional follow up online lessons from trained volunteers and staff to check in with or follow up on children’s efforts, giving them an opportunity to interact with scientists and conservationists tackling marine pollution and its effects on our oceans.

How do I get involved?

To take part in these activities as a school, home school group or partner organisation, please download our Education Pack from www.mcsuk.org/source-to-sea/resources.