Students: protectors of the coast today, volunteers tomorrow

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee environmental education students have contributed more than 820 hours of conservation work on the coast between Torquay and Lorne in the last 12 months, planting over 2,400 indigenous species and removing tens of thousands of weeds. 

Great Ocean Road Coast’s Education Team conducted a survey for year 9 students from four local schools to analyse the difference environmental education has on their attitudes towards conservation.

Seventy-five per cent of students said they enjoyed the environmental education program and sixty per cent said they would be willing to volunteer in the future.

Great Ocean Road Coast Education Coordinator Hilary Bouma said she was pleased students felt a stronger connection between their selves and nature, which would hopefully lead to a life-long association with protecting the coast.

“We are connecting students of all ages to nature, providing a hands-on, interactive learning space to encourage future generations of environmental protection and it’s fantastic to see students’ attitudes changing over the semester.”

Northern Bay College Coast Guardian student with Great Ocean Road Coast’s Hilary Bouma.

“By placing a focus on the positive relationships that can exist between people and the environment we hope to encourage a stronger appreciation for the precious backyard on the Surf Coast.”

Students enrolled Great Ocean Road Coast Education Programs complete a series of activities and sessions, which include sand monitoring, water quality testing, weeding, planting and more.

Great Ocean Road Coast Environment and Education Manager Katie Dolling said education is important to make environmental education fun and memorable.

“Our education team introduces an interactive, hands on learning environment to showcase the importance of habitat biodiversity, dune stability and litter management.”

“It is important that students are able to understand their impact on the coast, and how they can contribute to sustaining habitat and biodiversity along our coastline.”

Great Ocean Road Coast offers schools and groups the opportunity to engage in practical, real life conservation experiences in their free environmental education programs.  To find out more visit

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