Behind Conrad’s ambition to push himself to the extremes that sailing can offer, he also loves to kite-surf, kayak, surf, dive and windsurf. In fact, there are not that many water-sports that Conrad hasn’t tried at some point in his life and it is both the challenge and the love of the natural environment that has driven him to such limits.
In 2007, whilst looking to support an environmental project, he decided that there wasn’t anything that focused on humans and the environment – most were about conservation of animals. He decided to create a project focused on engaging people with the natural environment on the basis that more people would care for the planet if they learnt to enjoy what it can offer. Conrad is an oceanographer and studied ocean science at the University of Plymouth . He is deeply passionate about the oceans and given that both the climate and the oceans are responsible for all life on Earth, he decided to call it the BLUE Climate and Oceans Project or BLUE. In the space of two years and with a budget of just a few £1000 he created an Ambassador Programme of athletes that are passionate about the natural environment and called them BLUE Ambassadors. Together with his team he developed and built a multi-media rich website (www.theblueproject.org) working with each of the ambassadors to create inspiring content and material that could be taken into classrooms and delivered via social media to their fans.
The next step was to create new partnerships with organisations to create digital learning opportunities using the brilliant content coming back from each of the ambassadors. This was the first step to engaging the community with natural spaces. The next step is the most exciting and in 2009 Conrad and the BLUE Ambassadors launched a series of community participation events with the simple vision of creating an active community that contributes to a healthy planet. The inaugural “Blue Mile – Race for the Environment” took place on Plymouth’s waterfront in July 2010 and was a great success with hundreds of people taking to the water to swim, paddle and walk a mile and raise vital funds for the official charity partner WWF-UK. 8000 visitors passed through the Blue Mile Event Village to witness the water activities and experience the learning zone activities and entertainment on the shore. This is now an annual event and in 2011, the flagship event was taken to London with many “organise your own” events taking place nationwide.