Students today. Volunteers tomorrow. As part of National Volunteer Week (8-14 May 2017) we are celebrating all our wonderful environmental warriors, including the armies of students that care for the coast each term.
More than 470 students have participated in our Environmental Education Program in Term 1 alone, with over 1,400 students experiencing the hands on learning last year. Read more →
The image of a kangaroo and her joey are among the new images capturing some of the coast’s diverse fauna as part of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC) motion-sensor, infrared camera monitoring. Read more →
GORCC works alongside and supports many volunteer groups who operate on coastal Crown land reserves from Torquay through to Lorne. These hard working groups spend thousands of hours each year undertaking vital conservation work and raising awareness in thecommunity. Read more →
The Southern Brown Bandicoot and rare Rufous Bristlebird have been captured on infrared, motion-sensing cameras in Aireys Inlet.
The cameras, which were recently installed by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) as part of a new conservation monitoring program, record and identify animal activity in coastal habitats.
The below footage shows the Rufous Bristlebird amongst the vegetation:
The footage was collected within weeks of placing the cameras on coastal restoration sites. GORCC Education Activity Leader Peter Crowcroft said the sighting of a bandicoot, in particular, was unexpected and exciting.
“We are very fortunate the Southern Brown Bandicoot wandered into the monitoring area. We weren’t expecting to have such a good sighting of a bandicoot, especially within the first week.
“We are thrilled to have images of these animals in the area as it provides photographic evidence that the work we are doing is valuable for their survival. Until now there was no real way to confirm that rare species are living in the revegetated areas along the coast, so this evidence is very encouraging,” he said.
Summer by the Sea is almost here and in 2015 the program features stand up paddle-boarding – a new addition to a growing line-up of free activities.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Parks Victoria program which runs from 2-26 January 2015, is an opportunity for everyone to discover Victoria’s marine and coastal environment.
In 2015 more than 300 free, guided activities will be on offer across the state. In the Surf Coast region activities are being funded and run by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC), a program partner.
Stand up paddle boarding will feature in Torquay and Lorne and GORCC Education Activity Leader Pete Crowcroft who is organising and leading activities on the Surf Coast, said the activity is a fun way to explore and learn about estuaries and rivers.
“Stand up paddle-boarding is a popular but expensive recreational activity so we’re pleased to be able to offer it for free to participants,” he said.
In addition to activities for the more adventurous such as snorkelling, canoeing and stand up paddle-boarding, there are a huge variety of options available with something for every age and level of ability.
Participants can engage in everything from fossil safaris and walking tours through to coastal craft and playing detective both on the beach and in the bush.
“Those looking for something a little more relaxed can engage in activities like guided coastal walks along the stunning Surf Coast Walk, kite making sessions, rockpool rambles or calico craft,” said Mr. Crowcroft.
GORCC sponsored activities will be offered in Torquay, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet and Lorne and at the Torquay NightJar Markets.
“It’s wonderful to be able to get people of all ages to engage with our incredible coastline and experiencing and learning about the environment.
“It is particularly great for kids, as it’s very important that they learn to connect with and appreciate the natural environment from a young age,” Mr. Crowcroft said.
GORCC Community Liaison Manager, Jane Lovejoy said every previous January for four years GORCC had run a free environmental education program for campers.
“We are excited to partner with DEPI and Parks Victoria in Summer by the Sea and expand our activities to make them available to everyone on the coast.
“We look forward to seeing excited and happy participants of all ages enjoying what we have on offer,” she said.
TAFE students have joined forces with a local environmental group, resulting in multiple benefits, including the removal of thousands of invasive weeds and the development of positive, ongoing relationships.
Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR) united with Gordon Conservation and Land Management students recently to remove Sallow Wattle and Boneseed from Anglesea’s outskirts.
The day saw strong relationships formed between the two groups, leading many students to continue to volunteer their time with ANGAIR outside of their studies.
The students, inspired by their experience, have been participating in local working bees and assisting with the propagation of indigenous plants.
ANGAIR Membership Secretary Janet Stephens said students developed a great rapport with the volunteers, proving age is no barrier when it comes to conservation.
“They were terrific – not only were we able to get a lot of weeding done, but we were also able to pass on our knowledge and experience for the younger generation to take on board,” she said.
Gordon Course Coordinator Amanda May said the day was a huge success, with both parties enjoying the benefits of the partnership.
“ANGAIR has benefited from the injection of youthful energy, enthusiasm and muscle.
“In turn, students have learnt a great deal about weed control, working with volunteers, and planning and running a community event,” Ms May said.
In an additional project, Gordon students have also targeted a Bluebell Creeper weed infestation on private properties within Aireys Inlet.
Gordon students Kate Skinner and Rachael Beecham prepared site assessment reports for two Anglesea sites and will now develop a management plan for these selected sites.
“Large amounts of the creeper were removed in June, hopefully protecting rare Orchid plants in the future.
“The beautiful orchids were almost completely covered by the Creeper when we first arrived and we were able to make a positive impact, although there is definitely more to be done,” she said.
For more information on coastal, environmental volunteering visit gorcc.com.au. ANGAIR is always on the lookout for new faces and there are lots of ways you can contribute to the group’s conservation efforts. For more information visit angair.com.au.
Australians, and our many overseas visitors, have a profound love for the coastline and the Surf Coast is home to some of Australia’s most scenic and popular beaches.
Each summer, the surf coast population almost doubles with visitors. In the lead up to the holiday season, here are our three top tips for having fun in the sun and playing it safe at the beach this summer.
1. Swim between the flags
We all love a day at the beach, but it is important to remember the surf can be unpredictable. That’s why lifeguards put up red and yellow flags to show you the supervised area. The majority of Australians know this, but over half sometimes swim outside of the flags.
If you are thinking about swimming, make sure you know which beaches are patrolled or unpatrolled to ensure your safety. You can view a full list of patrolled beaches and key dates in Victoria on Life Saving Victoria’s website here.
During summer, many of our surf coast beaches are patrolled by life savers with red and yellow flags indicating the safest areas to swim at each beach – please swim between the flags.
2. Take care near cliffs & high tide marks
Many cliffs along the Great Ocean Road coast, particularly in the area between Jan Juc and Point Roadknight, and also at Aireys Inlet, can be unstable due to high tides and erosion. It is important to read and pay attention to advisory signs, take care near cliffs and keep to designated walking tracks.
There are also areas of seasonal coastal shoreline erosion which can also create unstable, temporary ‘sand cliffs’. These are not like normal cliffs and are more prone to collapse.
3. Take 3 for you, me and the sea
Our beaches are often lined along the tide marks with plastics, bottles, cigarette butts, fishing line and hooks, and other rubbish discarded by people. Not only can litter pose threats to physical safety, it also poses a major threat to marine life.
Most beaches along our surf coast have rubbish bins positioned in strategic locations so you don’t have to walk too far to dispose of your litter.
Remember to dispose of your rubbish appropriately or pick up three pieces of rubbish every time you leave the beach and help protect our beautiful coast and its marine life.
Other tips for ensuring your safety in or by the water can be found on our website.
WAD started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species and is now a day for remembering and paying tribute to all animals and the people who love and respect them.
According to Naturewatch UK, the aim of the day is to encourage everybody to commemorate their love and respect for animals by doing something special to highlight their importance in the world because increased awareness will lead the way to improved standards of animal welfare.
Our coast is home to a range of threatened and endangered species including the: