Emily shortlisted for national Rising Stars Award

The WeAreTheCity Rising Stars Awards are the first to focus on the achievements of women below Senior Management or Director level – representing the female talent pipeline and the next generation of future leaders.

Emily is one of 10 nominees shortlisted in the Charity and Not-for-Profit category.

You can read Emily’s shortlisting here: Emily Cunningham | South Tyneside Council (

The winner is now decided by a public vote, which closes on 30 April 2021.

You can vote for Emily (Cunningham) on 2021 Vote – WeAreTheCity Rising Star Awards (

Emily is one of the opening speakers of the We Are Ocean Summit 2021

Emily was honoured to be asked to be an opening speaker at the We Are Ocean Summit 2021, an international gathering of people working to accelerate ocean literacy.

Held on 29 January 2021, it was an inspiring event and wonderful to hear so many perspectives on what action needs to happen NOW to engage people in ocean recovery efforts.

You can listen to Emily’s talk on Emily Cunningham – YouTube

Emily recognised as a “30 under 30” global environmental leader

I’m honoured to announce that I have been selected as a 30 under 30 global environmental leader by the NAAEE. Media release pasted below, all queries to

British Marine & Coastal Specialist Emily Cunningham has been selected by The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) for its fifth round of 30 global leaders under the age of 30. Emily works tirelessly to inspire people about the wildlife in UK seas and enable them to take action to protect it. To date she has secured £5.1m funding for marine and coastal projects in the UK. She is a Trustee of the Marine Conservation Society, the UK’s leading marine charity.

Emily Cunningham, NAAEE 30 under 30 awardee 2020, says “Dirty, empty, lifeless. Just some of the words used to describe British seas in a national survey… and I’m horrified that I once shared that perception! From seeing humpback whales to exploring some of the best rockpools in the world, I feel incredibly lucky to have experienced how amazing UK seas are firsthand. I’m now on a mission to enable more people, particularly those from underserved communities, to share this awe and take action to protect our shared marine wildlife.”

Emily is one of the 30 awardees who will join the global EE 30 Under 30 community of leaders, and will receive ongoing support to expand their impact. Since 2016, NAAEE’s EE 30 Under 30 program has recognized 150 individuals from 34 countries who are making a difference through environmental education. This program is made possible by Wells Fargo, the Global Environmental Education Partnership, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Follow Emily’s adventures on social media, search Marine Biology Life.  Facebook / Instagram / Twitter 

Learn more about all of this year’s winners on:

£5m funding secured for marine and coastal conservation

I’m thrilled to announce that our bid was successful and the National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £2.78m funding to the UK’s first marine Landscape Partnership Scheme. Together with match funding, this gives an incredible budget of £5m with which to better understand, celebrate and protect a very special seascape in North East England.

It’s taken three years of detailed planning (i.e. stress, lots of coffee and a fair few tears) and I’m incredibly proud of the role I have played in getting it to this point. In 2016, I was employed to develop the scheme from scratch, securing the support of 15 partner organisations and the promise of £1m in match funding, and writing the successful Stage 1 bid. Since 2018, I’ve been involved as a professional advisor and am particular proud of my work on the pioneering Landscape Conservation Action Plan.

It’s been a long hard road to get here, with huge credit due to Veronica Rudd (Stage 2 Development Manager), a suite of consultants, local heritage groups and enthusiasts and all the partner organisations. Thank you to Fiona Southern, our NLHF monitor and NLHF for their support. Finally, thank you to all National Lottery Players – without you, this would not be possible.

This £5m scheme of 23 projects – both on-shore and beneath the sea – will seek to strengthen local understanding of the sea and our relationships with it, engendering pride and empowering local communities to protect the seascape’s amazing wildlife and other heritage. Read more about the scheme here.

I can’t wait for the scheme to get going and to see the difference this money makes for our seascape, its heritage and its communities. My personal ambition has always been for SeaScapes to be a blueprint for others and I hope in time our groundbreaking approach will enable other areas and communities to benefit in their own ways.

Do get in touch if you would like to see something like this in your patch!

SeaScapes Announcement PicImage: Emily presenting the developing SeaScapes project to the International Marine Conservation Congress, Malaysian Borneo, June 2018.