Guest Post: Geelong Lutheran College Coast Guardians 2015

GORCC’s Coast Guardians program is a special, ongoing program created for year 9 students from four local and regional schools. Each school works on protecting and enhancing a local coastal area. Here is a blog post from Annalyse, Brittany, Cameron and Lilly from Geelong Lutheran College about their Coast Guardians experience this year: Read more

Student conservation celebrations feature reptilian guests

Have you ever wanted to get up close and personal with a blue tongue lizard? For 120 lucky local year 9 students that’s exactly what they got to experience at last month’s Coast Guardians Forum.

The annual forum allows students from four regional schools the opportunity to celebrate their significant contribution to the coastal environment from the past twelve months.

Prizes and giveaways for the 2014 event were generously provided by Quiksilver, SeaEarth Adventures, EcoLogic Education and Environment Services, SurfWorld Museum, Third Wave Kiosk and the Deck Café Anglesea.
These hard working students were rewarded with a Black Snake Productions live wildlife show which featured some very interesting native animals, many of which are indigenous to the Surf Coast and some, like the very cute Bettong, which used to be indigenous to our area but are now no longer found here.
Michael Alexander from Black Snake Productions with a copperhead snake. Photo: GORCC
Michael Alexander from Black Snake Productions with a copperhead snake.  The wildlife show presented some scaly guests including a blue tongue lizard, copperhead snakes, pythons, baby crocodiles and some mammals and native birds.

 

 

GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale cuddles up to a Bettong. Photo: GORCC
GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale cuddles up to a very cute Bettong.

Along with the reptile display, the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre kindly contributed an interactive ‘touch tank’ which allowed students to interact with some of the marine wildlife they were protecting.

GORCC Education Activity Leader Pete Crowcroft, Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre's Alan Beckhurst, Christine Allen and Leoni Brilli from Northern Bay College and GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beal with goodies from the MDC's 'Touch Tank'. Photo: GORCC
GORCC Education Activity Leader Pete Crowcroft, Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre’s Alan Beckhurst, Christine Allen and Leoni Brilli from Northern Bay College and GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beal with goodies from the MDC’s ‘Touch Tank’.

As part of the celebrations, Wathaurung Aboriginal Elder Bryon Powell introduced the day with a Welcome to Country before educating students about bush tucker and important tools.

Students were able to try their luck at starting a fire using traditional Aboriginal methods.

Students attending the forum try their hand at making fire the traditional way with Elder Bryon Powell of the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation. Photo: GORCC
Students attending the forum try their hand at making fire the traditional way with Elder Bryon Powell of the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation.

This day is a fun and interactive way for students to reflect on the topics covered over the last twelve months, including aboriginal culture, coastal animals and plants and threats to and management of, the natural coastal environment.

GORCC Community Liaison Manager Jane Lovejoy commended the students on their hard work throughout the year.

“These schools and their students are making a very real difference to their coast. The aim of the program is to build future generations of environmentally aware individuals who proactively care for the coast they love. This end of year event is an opportunity to celebrate their hard work and achievements and touch on what they have learned and gained over the past twelve months,” she said.

View the photo gallery here. Learn more about the GORCC Coast Guardians Program here.

 

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Christian College students can finally take a break after years of hard work, including this planting day in July last year. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_0395

School project protects Point Impossible

Northern Bay College students have planted over 250 indigenous plants at Point Impossible as part of a local environmental education program, benefiting both participants and the coast.

Northern Bay College students have been working on the site over the past three years as part of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coast Guardians Program.

Students admire the handy work of the previous Northern Bay College group with GORCC Activity Education Leader Peter Crowcroft (far right).
Students admire their handy work with GORCC Activity Education Leader Peter Crowcroft (far right).

The most recent student group spent three weeks rehabilitating 1000sqm of coast with both the local environment and students enjoying the benefits, with observations of increased confidence and improved communication skills.

GORCC Education Activity Leader Peter Crowcroft, who works with several schools as part of the program, says the hands-on nature of the activities have more impact on teenagers than a lesson in the classroom normally would.

“The kids get a lot out of it – they begin to appreciate and understand the environment instead of taking it for granted,” he said.

Northern Bay College students aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, laying mulch over soil to provide moisture to indigenous plant species.
Northern Bay College students aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, laying mulch over soil to provide moisture to indigenous plant species.

Northern Bay Physical Education Teacher Shane Thompson said he believes more schools should incorporate the environment in to their curriculum.

“The knowledge that students gain will stay with them through to when they become adults and the positive messages will hopefully spread to their peers in years to come.

“It gives them something to take an interest in outside their usual environment and the element of community service looks great on their resume,” he said.

Over the past three years, Northern Bay College students have been working to revegetate the Point Impossible area with indigenous species such as the Olearia plant, which spreads by shooting off parachute-like seeds.

“The Olearia is a species we have used very successfully. In the right conditions it can rejuvenate the environment quickly and self sustainably,” he said.

GORCC activity Education Leader Peter Crowcroft (back right) with Northern Bay College Teacher Shane Thompson (chequered shirt) and students with self-sustaining Olearia plant.
GORCC activity Education Leader Peter Crowcroft (back right) with Northern Bay College Teacher Shane Thompson (chequered shirt) and students with self-sustaining Olearia plant.

The group has also enjoyed a variety of other activities ranging from studying organisms inhabiting the rocky shores to learning about the Barwon river estuary and its unique inhabitants.

Northern Bay College student Nicole Craig said she looks forward to the activities each week.

“It’s heaps of fun – I love being around a small group and getting to know people better,” she said.

GORCC Activity Education Leader Peter Crowcroft with satisfied Northern Bay College students after laying 100m of mulch along coastal soil.
GORCC Activity Education Leader Peter Crowcroft with satisfied Northern Bay College students after laying 100m of mulch along coastal soil.

Student James Griffiths says Coast Guardians days are more exciting than routine school days.

“I don’t like school because it’s boring but I love guardian days; I get to have fun and make friends.”

If you would like to see your school become more involved in the environment, why not join the Coast Guardians program?

To get involved or for more information regarding GORCC’s free environmental education programs, visit www.gorcc.com.au.

Students celebrate coastal conservation

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Hilary Bouma (GORCC Education Activity Leader) and Byron Powell, Wathaurung elder.

90 students joined some special guests at a coastal forum in Torquay this week to celebrate of a year of coastal conservation achievements.

Year nine students from four regional schools came together at the environmental education forum which is held each year as part of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coast Guardians Program.

GORCC Community Liaison Manager Jane Rowlands said the forum celebrated the significant contribution the students have made over the past year to the local coastal environment.

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Phil Armato (Fisheries Victoria) shows a wobbegong shark jaw to Lorne P-12 College student, James Wainwright.

“The day included interactive activities and challenges, prominent guest speakers, student presentations and prizes and giveaways.

This year’s guest speakers and special guests included:

•    Wathaurung aboriginal elder Bryon Powell
•    Phil Armato: manager of Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre for Fisheries Victoria. Previously worked at the RSPCA and Zoos Victoria.
•    Dr Kate Charlton-Robb: founding director and principal researcher at the Australian Marine Mammal Conservation Foundation. Researcher, lecturer, campaigner, and discoverer of the unique species of Port Phillip Bay Dolphins called Burrunan Dolphins.

The day has been designed to increase and extend understanding on topics students have covered over the last twelve months including aboriginal culture, coastal animals and plants and threats to and management of, the natural coastal environment.

“We hope that these Coast Guardians will now graduate to become ongoing ambassadors for our beautiful and fragile coast,” said Ms.Rowlands.

Students received thank you gift packs donated by Quiksilver and, spot prizes donated by other local businesses.

“GORCC thanks Quiksilver and other local businesses for supporting this very special program and for recognising the achievements of these students who are making a very real difference to the environment.

The GORCC Coast Guardians Program sees four schools take ownership of the rehabilitation and conservation of four sites.   Schools involved are:
•    Lorne Aireys P-12 College
•    Geelong Lutheran College
•    Northern Bay College
•    Surf Coast Secondary College

“This is a long term program where students, mainly year 9s, look after a specific site between Torquay and Lorne over 5 years.

“The Coast Guardians Program aims to relate work undertaken on the ground to the school curriculum, linking to subjects such as science, outdoor education and community volunteering,” said Ms. Rowlands.

For more information on the Coast Guardians Program visit http://www.gorcc.com.au.

Coast connections at student forum

Students from four regional schools came together to celebrate a year of coastal conservation achievements at an environmental forum held in Torquay last week.

EcoLogic’s Sophie Small, GORCC Education Activity Leader Sarah Bolus, Northern Bay College students Brian Devlin and Dylan Shelly with some ‘bush tucker’ they learnt about as part of the forum activities.

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.

GORCC Conservation Officer Georgie Beale and Education Activity Leader Sarah Bolus with students at the forum.

Visit or like GORCC on Facebook to see more images of the Coast Guardians End of Year Forum.

What is the Coast Guardian Program?

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.

Read more about the program here.

Want to get involved in GORCC’s Environmental Activities Program or volunteering on the coast?

Learn more about it the Environmental Activities Program here.

Visit the volunteer page for further information on volunteering opportunities.

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