The Great Ocean Road coastline relies on the support of community groups and volunteers to keep this breathtaking part of the world sustainable for future generations. This post is a special post from the Friends of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary (FERMS) who look after the sanctuary above and below the surface. Read more
Over 1, 300 attendees enjoyed the activities and displays available at the 2014 Annual Wildflower Weekend and Art Show held 20-21 September, hosted by Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR).
The Show, which saw an increase in numbers this year, aims to celebrate local flora and fauna and raise awareness around current environmental issues.
The 2014 Show included a versatile range of indigenous flora, guided wildflower walks and bus tours, plant sales, bird watching, plant propagation, children’s activities, and art and craft stalls.
The Estuary Watch ‘Water Bug’ children’s activity proved popular, allowing children to view living animals in their natural aquatic habitat through a microscope.
Estuary Watch Coordinator Rose Herben said children enjoyed the activity which raised awareness of the water quality and river health of local waterways.
“A highlight of the day was identifying a large dragonfly, known for its alien like retractable jaw,” she said.
ANGAIR President Helen Tutt said feedback from the day had been positive, with more emphasis on marine life this year.
“Above the stage, there was a beautiful screen display covered in marine photography – it looked stunning,” she said.
If you would like more information regarding similar events and activities, visit the ANGAIR website here.
Did you attend the Annual Wildflower and Art Show? What was your favourite part?
A new environmental group, Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary (FERMS), will launch this weekend with the celebrations to be headlined by a special guest speaker and fun activities on offer.
Special guest speaker Patrick O’Callaghan, a Marine Conservation Strategist with local and international experience, will make an appearance at the launch
Mr O’Callaghan has extensive knowledge and has worked in a number of roles including as the Program Leader, Education & Training at the Marine & Freshwater Resources Institute for over 10 years.
EcoLogic Manager and FERMS founding member Sharon Blum-Caon said the group aims to bring together those who are like minded and concerned about the preservation of ERMS.
“These people participate in meaningful on ground and in water actions/projects to preserve this environment.”
“Come along and join us – we promote understanding, passion and immersion in this amazing marine environment,” Ms Blum-Caon said.
The launch will take place on Saturday 23 March from 6:30pm onwards at Great Escape Books, Aireys Inlet with light refreshments on offer. The Saturday evening will be followed by a Rockpool Ramble and if conditions allow, an Ocean Snorkel on the Sunday afternoon at 1.30pm.
Everyone is welcome and those wanting to participate in the activities on Sunday must sign up first (either at the launch or by contacting Sharon).
Interested participants are asked to bring along snorkel gear. Otherwise a FERMS member will make a list on the night of those needing to borrow mask and snorkel, fins and/or a wetsuit.
For further information contact Sharon Blum-Caon on: 5263 1133 or 0412 257 802.
*Great Escape Books is located at 2/75 Great Ocean Road, Aireys Inlet 3231.
The aims of the FERMS group are to:
- Protect and preserve Port Jackson Shark habitat
- Educate school groups and the public about getting involved in protecting and preserving marine environments
- Increase the size of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary in line with breeding grounds of the Port Jackson Shark (Apply for and secure research grants to support what we already know about PJS)
- Conduct Sea Search programs at Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary with visiting groups and the general public
- Create the opportunity for children and teach children about this environment (peer learning) and foster/encourage stewardship behaviours
- Monitor weed, virus and pest sp./outbreaks
Related blog post:
|New group protects sanctuary|
The new Friends of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group is seeking members and set for an official launch in February while spectacular underwater footage of the area has been released.
The newly formed volunteer group has been working with Parks Victoria and Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) to produce a short film showcasing marine life protected by the sanctuary.
Founding members of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group snorkelled with the cameraman and guided him to special parts of the sanctuary to produce underwater footage which showcases an array of marine life.
Parks Victoria’s Alicia Ivory said the film gives visitors a snapshot of what is beneath the waves in the sanctuary.
“Many visitors come for a photo and a look around the lighthouse but might never get a chance to get out into the water and see the marine life our sanctuary protects.
“It is a fantastic way to show people the different creatures making use of the area and what we all need to do to make sure they are safe and protected,” she said.
Watch the footage below!
90% of the plants and animals showcased in the video are only found along the southern coastline of Australia.
Ms. Ivory said these areas provide an important refuge for a number of rare and threatened marine animals and plants.
“Much of our marine life is found nowhere else in the world,” Ms Ivory said.
The film is accessible via QR barcodes on interpretive signage which has been installed above the marine sanctuary or directly via the GORCC website.
Visitors to the Split Point Lookout can take a photo of the barcode with their smart phone to instantly view the footage.
Manager of EcoLogic and Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary founding member Sharon Blum-Caon said the group currently consists of six founding members and new participants are welcome.
“We catch up for snorkeling, rock pool ramblings, social events, coastal vegetation rehabilitation and photography,” she said.
Everyone is welcome at the official launch to be held on 9 February 2013 and attendees will receive a free Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary pack including a T-shirt printed with an image of the sanctuary’s iconic Port Jackson Shark.
For more information contact Sharon on: 0412 257 802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further details on volunteering along the coast, view the GORCC volunteer page.
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|Volunteering on the coast this summer|
The Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary is regularly frequented by a group of local snorkelers from Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. Some 12 months ago, this informal group identified that, while the Friends of Point Addis group encompasses Eagle Rock, there was certainly room to establish a standalone friends group.
With Eagle Rock right on the snorkelers’ doorsteps, the group recognised the importance of the sanctuary to the local community – who share a sense of pride in it – and to the snorkeling/diving community (several times a year, it produces conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving that would be hard to beat anywhere in the world).
In addition, members felt that the sanctuary itself would benefit from an organisation that provided opportunities for the general public to engage with it in more meaningful ways (e.g. monitoring, stewardship, training).
Consequently, the Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group was created to work on projects specific to the sanctuary.
Noticing that the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary Management Plan (which is incorporated within the Point Addis Management Plan) recommends regular monitoring to compare locations inside and outside of the sanctuary’s boundary, several group members have since put up their hands to bring this monitoring to life.
The group will work with Reef Watch, Sea Search, the Great Victorian Fish Count and Eco-Logic to engage local and visiting school groups, and members of the public in the monitoring project. Plans are also afoot to create an interactive website to educate and engage sanctuary visitors. This would include underwater footage, monitoring data, visitor information and the like.
As the Marine Parks and Sanctuary system is still relatively new, the group is also interested in the management plans for these parks, including how recommendations should be addressed to make the pending review of these documents worthwhile. With questions around the role and importance of marine parks and sanctuaries on the political agenda, the group believes a true understanding of their economic, ecological and social values is yet to be determined.
While still early days, the establishment of the Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group illustrates:
- the value of people who enjoy a common interest joining together to share their passion with others
- how identifying an existing shortfall can create new opportunities
- the benefits of taking the initiative on an issue rather than waiting for someone else to take action, and
- the importance of putting something back into the community or environment rather than taking it for granted.
Story by Andy Gray, Director, Eco-Logic Education and Environment Services