The 2016 Coast Guardians program is well underway with the Geelong Lutheran College embracing the picturesque blue skies earlier in May.
The Coast Guardians Program is special, ongoing program created by GORCC for year 9 students from four local and regional schools.
The days session began at Fisherman’s Beach Torquay for a Intertidal Beach Exploration before students headed over to Whites Gap for dune analysis.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coast Guardians Education Coordinator Hilary Bouma said the day was a fantastic way to highlight the importance of environmental protection, especially at Whites Gap.
“Students are participating in a ‘Shifting Sands Monitoring Project’ at the Gap to measure the changes in the sand height over the year.
“Programs such as the Coast Guardians allows students to visibly see the seasonal sand movements and erosion that occurs as part of the natural coastal process, and also gain an insight into how human impacts can greatly impact these processes,” she said.
The program is aimed at increasing awareness around coastal conservation issues and encouraging social responsibility and environmental stewardship.
Geelong Lutheran College Year 9 Teacher Dale Thomson has a strong background in marine biology and said the program was a fantastic educational source to allow students to connect with the coastal environment in a meaningful way.
“The program allows students to become broadly considerate on the environment they live in and see the impacts their interactions have within coastal habitats.
“The students begin to understand the complexity of balancing user groups and can see the positive impact of their hands-on participation,” he said.
Students examined a wide variety of sea weeds and shells washed up on beach as Ms Bouma discussed the importance and functions of these marine objects.
Plastic pollution was also a hot topic, and students learnt about the issues and consequences for marine and coastal life from the discarded waste.
A key highlight for the group was working at Whites Gap, the rehabilitation site Geelong Lutheran College Coast Guardians have been working on for the past five years.
“Coastal Guardians delivers supporting, relevant evidence to class based work on the environment, biology, oceanography and meteorology,” Mr Thompson said.
The program is aimed at increasing awareness around environmental issues and encouraging social responsibility and environmental stewardship. Ultimately, it is hoped that participants will be able to walk along a protected coast in years to come and enjoy the benefits of their hard work.