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Project Seagrass confirms Ragus as sponsor for a second year
As part of our commitment to making a tangible difference to our world, Ragus has been confirmed by our sustainability partner Project Seagrass as a Bronze Sponsor for the second year of our support for the charity. Project Seagrass’ mission is to conserve and restore seagrass meadows all over the world. During August, I visited the charity’s seed harvesting meadow at Porthdinllaen, Wales, to learn more about its recent initiatives.
Learning opportunities through volunteering
This August, I was delighted and privileged to spend two days at the Project Seagrass nursery on the Welsh coast – my third visit since Ragus became a sponsor in 2021. Once again, after a comprehensive safety induction and briefing by the Project Seagrass team, I found myself in a wet suit, snorkelling down to the seedbeds.
As the only flowering plant to thrive in seawater, understanding the reproductive cycle of seagrass is an essential element of conservation efforts. Seagrass is a flowering plant, so it reproduces sexually through pollination but also produces rhizomes. The seeds produced from the flowers are found in reproductive sheaths.
Developing new practices and technologies to optimise seedling growth
Efforts to grow seagrass in onshore nurseries have enjoyed mixed success, with harvesting, planting and nursery approaches constantly evolving. To have a significant impact on carbon dioxide levels over time, any seagrass meadow restoration techniques must be scalable.
Project Seagrass has introduced innovative new practices that have optimised seedling health and survivability. Rather than keep the collected seeds in large tubs onshore, refreshing the seawater daily to keep them healthy, the team has introduced new practices. The seed sheaths are kept in specially designed nets that are located in shallow waters off the beach. This improves seedling health and reduces seed loss as the water is no longer removed and replaced.
Another initiative is mechanisation, developing an underwater harvester. Sea trials have started with the device that, just like a lawnmower, skims the top layer of seagrass meadows to collect seeds. Technologies such as this will power scalability.
What Ragus’ Bronze Sponsorship means for Project Seagrass
The interest in seagrass has mushroomed in the last year. This previously unheard-of carbon dioxide sink, the only flowering plant to grow in seawater, has featured in many media reports and documentaries, including David Attenborough’s The Green Planet series.
This has increased interest from corporate sponsors who are keen to associate their brands with the valuable work of the many charities that aim to ensure the plant thrives in UK waters. This work comes with the potentially significant cost of state-of-the-art equipment, plant and, crucially, people. Corporate giving has become an important source of income.
Ragus’ cash donation is unrestricted, and we volunteer and donate other assets. The significance of an ‘unrestricted’ donation is that the charity can choose how to spend the money, often covering less visual but valuable costs. We have also donated intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) that assist with water processing allowing the team conduct land-based trials.
It was fascinating and uplifting to meet the team again and share some of our CSR news, such as the LED lighting project, and discuss our plans for improving energy efficiency in the factory by installing inverters and new burners in our boilers.
Our dedication to corporate social responsibility steers our business. Do you know a charity or community programme we could support? Contact us to find out how partnerships work. To see more partner news and updates, follow Ragus Charity and Community page on LinkedIn.
Joining Ragus in 2017, Henry is the fifth generation of the Eastick family to work in the business. He has worked across our company, implementing plant and technology improvements in the factory to working in the lab developing a knowledge for our products. He focuses on our raw materials procurement as well as leading our digital transformation, adapting new technology and plant to meet our needs. His deep interest in nature and sustainability makes him a dedicated and passionate CSR manager.