Traditional wisdom has it that good connections are vital to getting on in life. For us however, good connections are critically important to our beautiful coast, both now and in the future.
As coast managers, we share a strong connection with the coast and are passionate about its ongoing care, protection and conservation. Such passion also connects us with the many local coastal volunteer groups and individuals involved in caring for the coast, and with government agencies and other bodies who, like us, are responsible for managing the coast.
Sometimes it can be confusing to know just who is responsible for what on our coast. Good connections between the different managers are vital to building the foundation for an integrated approach to coastal management. Good connections between coastal volunteers provide the basis for sharing knowledge, skills and experiences, and for working cooperatively on various coast care activities.
Such connections also play a crucial role in helping to connect the ordinary person on the beach, or in the street, with the coast and hopefully contribute to raising their awareness of why they need to play their part in looking after it.
Over the past few months, we have been working towards building our capacity to connect with people in the online environment, via this blog for example, our website and popular social media tools. While this is an exciting, new thing for us, we recognise that it is certainly not the ‘be all and end all’ when it comes to connecting with people to connect them with our coast.
Consequently, we have also been working to improve the way we connect via more tried and tested means. We know for example that the strongest connections come from sitting down and talking to people face-to-face, which beats technology every time.
This is why we are looking forward to the upcoming Forum for Coastal Volunteers on Sunday 29 August 2010, which is being organised by Coast Action/Coastcare, in partnership with ourselves and Otway Coast.
We see this important forum as providing an invaluable opportunity to strengthen connections – between ourselves, our partners and our volunteers, and between the many coastal volunteer groups themselves – which will benefit the entire Great Ocean Road coast from Torquay to Port Campbell.
The forum promises great food and great company while providing opportunities to share, celebrate, connect and look to the future. We can’t wait to be there and to see what comes out of it in terms of building the good connections so vital to our beautiful coast.