Coast Guardians Forum a day of learning and fun

The 2017 GORCC Coast Guardians Forum was a day of celebration and inspiration for the 140 year 9 students, teachers and staff from the four local schools who attended at the Surf Coast Shire Grant Pavilion in Torquay. The weather was not in our favour, but the spirits were high for a fun-filled day with delicious food, wonderful donated goods as prizes, local coastal expertise.

Students were treated to a moving Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony provided by the local Wathaurung representatives, Corrina O’Toole and Norm Stanley. Norm’s didgeridoo playing provided a magnificent addition to the smoking ceremony which welcomes all people to the Wadawurrung area for a day of clean and clear hearts and thinking. The students listened and absorbed the atmosphere respectfully and joyfully.

Welcome to Country2
Norm Stanley played the didgeridoo as a part of a Welcome to Country Ceremony with the assistance of Corrina O’Toole.

Corrina also conducted workshops for the students to learn of Wadawurrung culture and practices to care for the coast, including painting with clay and weaving plants for hair decorations, which the students really enjoyed.

Further workshops were conducted for the students by local award-winning film maker Jarrod Boord who facilitated making a stop motion mini movie about plastic and marine debris on our coast. What an opportunity to work with a professional movie maker and create something to show people in 25 minutes!

Yr 9 students with Jarrod learning about stop-motion animation
Year 9 students with Jarrod Boord learning about stop-motion animation.

Local artist Lisa Hunter inspired the students to create their own GORCC Enviro Bag decorations using individualised messages and decorative stencils of local animals and plants. Lisa created some wonderful stencils of moonah trees, bandicoots, hooded plover and dolphins (to name a few) for students to paint and have an individualised bag of their own and reduce plastic bag waste on the coast.

Bandicoot Moonah tree tote bags
Just two of the beautifully decorated tote bags by our Coast Guardians.

Nadine Berry from Anglesea’s EcoLogic brought an amazing array of local preserved wildlife specimens including koalas, possums, owls and other creatures for the students to look and feel closely at their features for survival. Nadine also showed the students how to discover the tracks, traces and evidence that the animals are here on the coast.

Our own GORCC Education staff member, Pete Crowcroft, looked at Things up Close, utilising the new GORCC Environmental Education trailer’s microscopes.  The students were amazed to see the boulders, crystals and pieces of shell found in the rainbow of a few grains of beach sand, and the tiny pieces of micro plastic contained in the face wash many people use each day.

Fungi from Great Ocean Road Coast Committee on Vimeo.


We looked at different objects magnified at up to 250x, which showed details of everyday objects that we usually would not see. Some students collected a mushroom to have a look at the gills magnified, and were excited to find many small grubs that were too small to see with the naked eye crawling inside.

Students also contributed to the day with prepared verbal and visual presentations about their experience as Coast Guardians. They presented informative talks and posters addressing environmental issues and informing the participants of the amazing biodiversity on the coast.

Our Guest Presenter, Jess Brown from Melbourne Zoo, provided an informative, confronting and inspiring presentation about the Zoos Victoria Marine Response Unit rescuing marine life (particularly seals) who have become entangled in marine debris. Jess spoke of the fact that Zoos Victoria is a conservation based organisation now that deals with real life issues to prevent animals’ extinction on our planet. Students also learned of practical ways to combat the problem of marine debris on their coast by participating in the beach clean-ups and sending data to the Australian Marine Debris Data Base, and using bubbles rather than balloons at events such as parties and festivals.

Jarrod (Streamline Media) and Jess (Zoos Vic)
Filmmaker Jarrod Boord with guest presenter Jess Brown from Zoos Victoria.

“The 2017 GORCC Coast Guardians Forum was a wonderful day where we expect the local Coast Guardian students were inspired further to care for the natural beauty and assets on the Surf Coast, and to continue their stewardship in the future.” Hilary Bouma, Education Coordinator for the Coast Guardians.

Students in the coastal classroom

Our Possum Pete in Anglesea with the YMCA team


YMCA Anglesea Recreation Camp’s, ‘Kids Go Bush’ program loves getting our families out and about in the bush each week during  its ‘Bush Playgroup’ sessions. Building Cubbies, cooking on the fire, seeking in the Bracken ferns, our rope swing and regular journeys around our special areas of the Anglesea Recreation Camp, providing many and varied educational learning opportunities.

On Monday 14 August, the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee joined the YMCA team to enjoy a beach adventure at Point Roadknight beach in Anglesea. It was full of surprises, including seeing some hard-to-spot decorator crabs and a pod of dolphins playing in the waves off the point.  Great Ocean Road Coast’s Environmental Education Program Coordinator Peter Crowcroft, aka possum Pete (pictured above),  provided some very insightful facts about the local area and showed all the kids a collection of marine treasures.

Anglesea is fast becoming the environmental education capital of Victoria with some of the best in the business, working together to help connect the next generation with the diverse Anglesea coastline.

For more information please email kidsgobush@ymca, or call on 5263 1512 or follow the YMCA Anglesea on Facebook.


The Great Ocean Road Coast’s  Education Leader, Coast Guardians Program Coordinator Hilary Buoma  recently ran a session with Lorne P-12 College  learning about the plants on the small dune Lorne has at Point Grey.  The team investigated how the dune soil and plants change from the front of the dune on the beach to the back of the dune in the trees, and what factors affected the growth of the plants. We also discussed the issues involved in coastal planning and management on the Surf Coast and at Point Grey. The students then collected some rubbish from the area.


Geelong Lutheran College 9A joined our team at Whites Beach in Torquay.  The team examined the dunes in more detail looking at the plant adaptations to the harsh environment including salt, lack of water, wind and varying temperatures. The students took measurements along a transect line and made hypotheses. They also planted over 100 plants at the Whites Gap site, where the school has been rehabilitating for 5 years.

Hilary Buoma with the Northern Bay College students

Northern Bay College Term 2 students (pictured) joined us for their first session out at Torquay. The school focus on overcoming challenges and during this session learned about the animals and their habitats on the Surf Coast, and learned about work safety,  and then we planted 150 plants in 2 hours under warm winter conditions. This work was on the Torquay foreshore next to the caravan park, where many pest weeds had previously been removed to make space for indigenous plantings.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee is a not-for-profit organisation that reinvests all revenue back into the coast, caravan parks and community.

To find out more about the Great Ocean Road Coast’s environmental education programs and our partners, who are all giving back to the coast, visit:


The adventures of Rusty Swordfish

Plastic pollution is no joke, Education Coordinator Hilary Bouma said as she forwards the video of Rusty Swordfish and the latest marine debris film by Jarrod Boord.

“Plastic pollution is not something to laugh about, but we need to get the message out there and start getting people talking about the small actions we can all take everyday to help protect our planet. Read more

Principal gets involved in Coast Guardians

It was all hands on deck last month as Geelong Lutheran College helped plant 50 dune stablising plants at Whites Beach.

Geelong Lutheran College Campus Principal Barry Krueger was one of the first teachers to set up the long-standing partnership between the school and Great Ocean Road Coast’s education programs. Read more

Fresh Air Kids – Term 2 | Week 7

The last day of term 2 saw the Fresh Air Kids visit the eye of Roadknight.

The Fresh Air Kids is a group of local families that want their children to spend time in the great outdoors, learning through playing in nature.

A community partnership with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Fresh Air Kids aims to encourage local coastal kids to grow up observing the environment in more detail than even most adults do.

Read more

Fresh Air Kids – Term 2 | Week 6

Read about the adventures of the Fresh Air Kids from last term as the group gears up for another fun-filled term of outdoor exploration.

Fresh Air Kids is a group of local families that want their children to spend time in the great outdoors, learning through playing in nature. Read more