This week I have been getting stuck in with the Orkney International Science Festival. When I met Howie Firth on Burn’s Night at the start of the year he floated the idea of a North Ronaldsay sheep session in the Festival. With the research that had appeared in the news around that time about the methane reducing benefits of seaweed in livestock feed, I set to work looking for researchers in the use of seaweed in tackling climate change. I contacted Dr Jessica Adams of Aberystwyth University who researches how micro-organisms in the gut of North Ronaldsay sheep may assist macroalgae degradation for biofuel production and Dr Katerina Theodoridou of Queen’s University Belfast who researches how seaweed as a livestock feed additive can cut methane and ammonia pollution and reduce soya usage. They both joined myself and enzyme-researcher Dr Luisa Ciano of Nottingham University for a session at the festival called Sheep on the Shore. During the session I talked about my plans to use North Ronaldsay sheep as conservation grazers to enhance biodivesity.
Around that time I was also reading up on how we can recycle plastic waste found on the beaches (of which there is sadly a lot of here) and came across a paper by Dr Katharina Vones of Dundee University and Dr Ian Lambert of Detroit’s College for Creative Studies which described their work in turning ocean plastic found in the Outer Hebrides into filament for 3D printers. They both joined me for a session called Resources on the Shore. They’d done some fantastic workshops with schools and communities where they printed jewellery and It was my hope to have this appear at the festival. Due to coronavirus restrictions the festival went online this year so the workshop couldn't take place, but you can catch up with all the sessions here!
For the Resources session I made a film looking at the wonders of North Ronaldsay wool.