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The Otway Biodiversity Forum was held in Colac recently with participants attending from across the region. Groups representated included management bodies, government agencies, and community organisations.
The Forum, hosted by the Otway Community Conservation Network (OCCN), discussed how current conservation projects and ideas can be linked, prioritized, and improved upon and was aimed at increasing community awareness and improving ecological values and environmental well-being.
Department of Environment and Primary Industries District Planning Manager (Otway District) Craig Clifford said the forum was a well organised and productive day.
“By bringing all the stakeholders together to discuss projects, ideas and possible linkages/partnerships the OCCN can ensure an integrated approach to land management.
“The OCCN provides a platform for groups who do not fit within formalised networks and provides the support and leadership they need,” he said.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Supervisor Georgina Beale attended the day and was happy with the progress made by all groups.
“We have been able to discover related projects and identify other groups who have the same goals. Hopefully we can team up in the future and have a greater positive impact on the environment,” she said.
“Community organisations and volunteer groups are vital in educating the younger generation…without them, students may not appreciate and take care of the environment,” she says.
To learn more about the Otway Community Conservation Network (OCCN) and how they can help your group or organisation to reach your environmental goals, check out the video below:
The OCCN host regular biodiveristy forums and representatives from all regional groups and organisations are invited to attend. To learn more, contact Luke Hynes on 0406 113 438 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kids on the coast have been getting up close with marine environments and enjoying everything from ‘adventure safaris’ to ‘ranger yarns’ as part of the free Summer by the Sea program. Children participating in a ‘rock pool ramble’ activity in Torquay recently were delighted to discover a range of unusual sea creatures in the rock pools at Point Danger.
Marine Park ranger Alicia Ivory who hosted the activity said the discovery of chitons, sea slugs, sea stars and blue bottle jellyfish in the rock pools helped to highlight the importance of looking after our local marine environment. “The plants and animals living in places like Point Danger Marine Sanctuary are sensitive and diverse with over 96 different types of sea slugs recorded over recent years,” she said. Participants Milly Dundle and Jessamine Turner said finding the different creatures was their favourite part of the activity. “I really liked finding the sea stars and learning that it’s important to put the rocks back where you found them so that the animals don’t get lost or hurt,” Milly said.
Local resident Jill Tregonning said the chance to see the rock pools was a great opportunity for both herself and her granddaughter Milly. “Even though you live here, you don’t know and appreciate what’s under your nose until you actually see it,” Jill said. Summer by the Sea activities are an opportunity to uncover more about our precious coastal and marine environments with the help of expert guides. The annual event sees families come together to participate in fun, educational activities that are enjoyable for all age groups and participants range from locals to day trippers and regular visitors. “These activities help visitors learn how to look after the environment, while enjoying the parks. “It’s not just the children but also the adults who love learning new facts about the species they regularly see each time they visit the rock pools,” said Ms.Ivory.
Ms Ivory said understanding why each species is important helps people realise how special our marine environments are. “It’s great to see people getting out and experiencing these amazing places that are protected for ours and future generations,” she said. Summer by the Sea is run by Parks Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment. More information is available at www.dse.vic.gov.au/summerbythesea.
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.
Rip Curl employees have teamed with local community groups for the annual Rip Curl Planet Days, held since 2000.
The concept celebrates Rip Curl’s commitment to the environment by providing the necessary attention and resources for significant coastal management strategies on the Surf Coast.
Over two days the company commits the time of all staff from the Rip Curl International head office in Torquay.
Rip Curl CEO and Planet Day participant Stephan Kay shows his support of the company’s involvement.
“It really gives me a sense of achievement and pride to see the transformation of the coastal foreshore that’s occurred as a result of the efforts of our staff helping the volunteer community groups.
“I love seeing plants and 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.
Under the guidance of local representatives from environmentally responsible groups, Rip Curl employees generally tackle any task that ensures the ongoing sustainability of strategic locations along the Surf Coast which could include:
Eradicating foreign species threatening local plants and
Implementing water saving strategies.
The teams are guided by local representatives to work collectively on projects threatening the local coastal area including:
The Surf Coast Shire
The Great Ocean Road Coastal Committee (GORCC)
Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment (SANE)
Torquay and Jan Juc Coast Action groups and
The state government Department of Sustainability & Environment.
Since Rip Curl initiated this annual community project in the year 2000, over 80,000 plants indigenous to the Surf Coast have been put in across the region between Point Impossible and Bells Beach/Southside.
Thanks to ongoing, year-round maintenance by the local groups, areas previously worked on have flourished, with a better than 80 per cent long-term plant survival rate.
Rip Curl Planet Day will be held on 25 & 26 October. For more information or to get involved contact Mark Flanagan on 03 5261 0176 or 0408 619 929, email email@example.com