Five community and volunteer groups are set to benefit from the annual Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Coastal Grant program with $10,000 going to projects that protect, enhance and increase community connections to the coastal environment.
ANGAIR, Anglesea Motor Yacht Club, Fairhaven Surf Life Saving Club, Jan Juc Coast Action and Torquay Coast Action have all received funding towards their upcoming projects.
A $7,500 Coastcare grant has been awarded to Torquay Coast Action to complete the second phase of the Deep Creek Estuary restoration which will create a corridor for native wildlife along the Surf Coast Walk. Read more →
National Volunteer Week is on again from the 9-15 May and celebrates more than six million dedicated Australians, including local conservationist and Torquay Coast Action President Glenda Shomaly. Read more →
80 Rip Curl employees have joined forces with locals to protect the coastline as part of an annual event that has seen more than 80,000 indigenous plants planted on the Surf Coast over 14 years.
Enthusiastic Rip Curl staff from the Torquay Head Office worked at a range of sites including Point Impossible, Bells Beach, Bird Rock, and Whites Beach.
Rip Curl staff were divided in to 6 teams, coordinated by volunteers from Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment (SANE), Jan Juc Coast Action, Torquay Coast Action and staff from the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC).
Rip Curl CEO Stephan Kay said the results give him a sense of achievement and pride.
“It’s great to see the transformation of the coastal foreshore that’s occurred as a result of these efforts.
“I love seeing the regenerated sections of the coast that Rip Curl employees have worked on when I’m going for a surf or walking the cliffs,” Mr Kay said.
Each year, Rip Curl gives back to the community and demonstrates a strong commitment to the local environment by giving their employees the opportunity to participate in a paid work day of volunteering.
Planet Day Director Mark Flanagan said the primary focus of the event is to positively contribute to the public spaces in and around the Surf Coast.
“We liaise with the community groups that help manage the areas throughout the whole year and work under their guidelines,” he said.
GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex Sedger said Rip Curl is a strong advocate for environmental protection.
“The event allows a major global company to give back to the coastal environment, engage their staff, and raise awareness around local environmental issues.
The Rip Curl staff and volunteers were involved in indigenous tree planting, weed eradication, and coastal cleanup works across two days
“The Rip Curl employees weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty in planting and weeding works, and some went to extreme lengths to collect rubbish in Spring Creek using stand up paddle boards,” said Ms. Sedger.
Ms. Sedger said a number of unexpected items of rubbish were discovered.
“A car battery, bull-bar and about 50 golf balls were removed in the process,” she said.
Click here for further information on the Rip Curl Planet Day, or here to find out how you can start volunteering along the surf coast.
Local community groups within the Surf Coast and Bellarine have received a share of over $40, 000 in State Government funding.
The Coastcare Victoria Community Grants Program aims to support local action that protects and enhances coastal environments.
In 2014, local groups including Jan Juc Coast Action, ANGAIR, Torquay Coast Action and Surfers Appreciating Natural Environment have all been recognised and received funding for their conservation projects.
Local environmental volunteer group ANGAIR has received $2, 000 to count towards re-establishing threatened Moonah Woodlands in Anglesea – a project the group has been working on in partnership with GORCC for more than 7 years.
ANGAIR volunteer Bill McKellar said the group had just 200m of site left to rehabilitate, with the funding set to help complete the project.
“When we started, coastal tea tree – a native to Australia but non-indigenous to the area and an invasive weed – had taken over.
“The occasional Moonah and Bearded Heath had survived, however, they were stretched to the limit and competing for space,” he said.
Mr McKellar said the project had been worth seven years of hard work and dedication.
“The results are magic – it really is extraordinary,” he said.
GORCC conservation officer Georgie Beale said the project was one of GORCC’s most successful restoration projects.
“The increase in biodiversity has been significant.
“As their habitat is re-established, native fauna are moving back into the area as evidenced by the increase in tracks and burrows on the site,” she said.
Schools are also playing an important part in the project.
“Many school groups have supported the works through the GORCC Environmental Education Program including Christian College and St Bernard’s College who have dedicated many hours to the project over several years,” she said.
Mr McKellar said the work has resulted in the return of indigenous flora as well.
“Satin Everlasting (Helichrysum Leucopsideum) – a very pretty flower – has reappeared on the site. This is the only place it can be found on the Surf Coast,” he said.
Department of Education and Primary Industries Coastcare co-ordinator Alex Sedger said the contribution of volunteers was integral to coastal management.
“All volunteers are passionate about their special patches, and often work without asking anything for their efforts,” she said.
Want to get involved? Find out more about coastal, environmental volunteering here. ANGAIR welcomes new volunteers, and information on the group and the upcoming Wildflower Weekend can be found at angair.org.au.
Students from four regional schools came together to celebrate a year of coastal conservation achievements at an environmental forum held in Torquay last week.
The educational event formed part of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coast Guardians Program and included environmental activities, guest speakers and student presentations.
Geelong Lutheran College Middle School Co-Ordinator Georgia Quirk said the forum highlighted the importance and impact of the students’ year of environmental work.
“It was great to see the students come together with the other schools in the program, and realise that what they have done has a larger purpose.
“Together we can achieve a whole lot more and it was wonderful to see our students interacting with others by take part in this community endeavour,” Ms Quirk said.
Participants learnt about indigenous foods, protecting and caring for wildlife, the impact of marine debris on our environment and were encouraged to consider environmental volunteering and future careers in conservation.
GORCC Conservation Officer Georgina Beale said the forum acknowledged the students’ hard work and contribution to maintaining the coastal environment.
“The students have assisted us to protect and enhance the natural environment and supported the incredible work of local environmental volunteer groups,” said Ms. Beale.
The program covered a range of environmental topics integrated with hands-on activities such as weeding, planting and erosion prevention.
Geelong Lutheran College, Northern Bay P-12 College and Lorne-Aireys Inlet P-12 College and Surf Coast Secondary College Students took part in the Coast Guardians Program for 2012.
Each school took ownership of the rehabilitation and conservation of a coastal site with the help of GORCC’s conservation team and supported by local volunteer groups including ANGAIR, Friends of Queens Park and Torquay Coast Action.
Students involved ranged from years 7-10 from four schools. The activities the students undertook this year helped to increase awareness of environmental issues and encouraged social responsibility and environmental stewardship and it is hoped that participants will be able to walk along that section of coast in years to come and see the results of their hard work.
The program is additional to GORCC’s general Environmental Education Activities Program and is provided free of charge to the schools involved.
A group of young environmental protectors are taking conservation action as part of their community connections class at Surf Coast Secondary College and are set to become guardians of the coast into the future.
The year 10 students have planted over 400 trees as part of various conservation projects which have included the removal of noxious weeds at Whites Beach, planting within Moonah Woodlands at Spring Creek and litter patrols near Jan Juc.
SCSC community connections teacher Shane Elevato said many of the students were now looking to study biology and outdoor education in 2013.
“The students are demonstrating not only a passion for the environment but an interest in conservation as a potential career path for the future.”
The students have been undertaking the work in partnership with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) through the organisation’s Coast Guardians program.
“The program tied in with our community connections class, which gives students the opportunity to get out into the environment, demonstrate direct activism and put what they have learnt in the classroom into practice,” Mr Elevato said.
He said the year-long program taught students about the impact rubbish has on bird life and marine life and specifically looked at how removing plastic and bottle tops from the coast can help to save animal life.
“The program makes students more appreciative of how special our local environment really is. When they get out into the community and see the impact littering can have they learn to appreciate the environment and have a greater sense of ownership of the environment.”
GORCC conservation officer Georgie Beale said topics covered with the group over the last term included plant communities and dune ecology.
“Throughout the year the students have covered a range of theory topics including plant communities, dune ecology, sustainable fishing, environmental weeds, and marine debris. Planting and weeding is also an important part of the program and helps to ensure noxious weeds do not invade Indigenous plant species,” she said.
The Coast Guardians program also includes work and partnerships with environmental volunteer groups such as Torquay Coast Action, Friends of Queens Park and ANGAIR who have been working with students on various sites throughout the year.