HAMPSHIRE and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has joined forces with Hampshire County Council and the New Forest National Park Authority to bring their annual Marine Wonders event back to Lepe Country Park next week.

They’ll be alongside numerous organisations showcasing the delights of the marine environment through family-friendly activities.

There are opportunities to learn to hunt and hide from predators in our famous Plaice Race, take part in a scavenger hunt on our indoor beach and search for colourful crabs and strange looking sea squirts on the beach safari.

They’ll also be a story-teller to immerse you in salty-themed tales and, if you are feeling crafty, you can create your own marine-themed badges, make seal, fish or shark Wildlife Rockets then see how far you can fire them, and much more.

The day will be packed with interesting facts about the seas around us.

Did you know that young plaice are born looking like other fish, and that their left eye migrates across the head to reach the right eye as the fish flattens and prepares for life on the seafloor?

Or that cuttlefish lay their eggs on local seagrass to stop them floating away? Or that the Solent’s mudflats are important for a range of birds, which dig into the mud with their beaks to catch worms and other prey items?

The Wildlife Trust is also keen to let people know how we can all conserve our wonderful local marine life and habitats as part of our new Heritage Lottery Funded project, Secrets of the Solent.

The aim of this project is to celebrate our marine heritage and highlight the diversity and importance of the life in Solent and South Wight Seas.

Locally there are abundant examples of internationally important species and habitats such as seals, seahorses, seagrass meadows, chalk reefs, and rocky sponge gardens, but our local marine life is under threat.

The Wildlife Trusts hopes to ensure these habitats are protected and appreciated through the establishment of a network of marine protected areas and by better understanding of human impacts on marine life – and they’d like everyone to get involved.

The Marine Wonders event is a great day out for all the family and a perfect opportunity to find out more about marine conservation and how you can get involved in looking after our seas, from helping to gather data of marine life, to clearing plastic from the beaches.

Marine Wonders is on August 9 and 10 at Lepe Country Park. The event is organised by Hampshire County Council, the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Natural England, and Conservation Volunteers.

More information on upcoming events can be found at hiwwt.org.uk/whats-on.