Call to beachgoers: Reduce dune damage

Fragile sand dunes are deteriorating due to an increase in illegal access, threatening coastal environments and posing safety risks to beachgoers.

Dune systems are being left exposed to high winds, tides and rainfall as vegetation as they continue to be trampled by beachgoers leaving designated tracks and ignoring signs. Read more

Hundreds descend on beach classroom

260 Torquay College students swapped the classroom for the beach last week as part of educational activities led by Torquay Surf Lifesaving Club and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC).

GORCC Education Leader Pete Crowcroft provides fun facts about the sea snail to onlooking students

The year 5 and 6 students enjoyed a week of outdoor activities, guest speakers and hands on learning as part of GORCC’s Environmental Education Program.

Activities focused on topics such as dune preservation, marine wildlife and the importance of fragile ecosystems.

Rock pool investigations were popular, with students relishing the opportunity to discover the interesting creatures that live on the coast.

GORCC Education Leader Pete Crowcroft holds a crab for the students to get a better look
GORCC Education Leader Pete Crowcroft holds a crab for the students to get a better look

GORCC Education Activity Leader Pete Crowcroft said the students were excited to be out and about in their local environment.

“The program is a fantastic way to get students interested and involved in the marine environment.

“Their eagerness to learn about the fauna living in the rock pools really demonstrated their natural curiosity.

“By getting students to care about the coast at a young age, we’re really hoping that they will grow up to appreciate and look after their own backyard,” Mr Crowcroft said.

Torquay College teacher Chelsea James said there was a real excitement in the air as the kids descended onto the coast.

Kayla Ching (left) holds a crab as classmates Jordyn Bray and Finley Royner look on
Kayla Ching (left) holds a crab as classmates Jordyn Bray and Finley Royner look on

“The students learn and remember extraordinary facts about the animals they see which they take home and share with their families and friends.

“The GORCC program creates an exciting classroom and provides hands on learning which is really important to encourage them learn and ask questions,” Ms James said.

GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale said it is important to encourage students to appreciate the natural environment.

“Education is the key and inviting younger members of the community to become involved in coastal protection will to create a future generation that loves and cares for the coast,” said Ms Beale.

GORCC offers groups of all ages the opportunity to engage in hands on learning to understand, respect and protect the local coastal surroundings.

For more information about GORCC’s free activities for schools and groups or to learn more about how you can help to care for the local coast,  visit our website.

This article appeared in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column.

Our coast’s future in good hands

It may be stating the obvious but recent days have provided us with a timely reminder about the future of our coast – and indeed our world – lying with the adults of tomorrow, being the young people of today. Torquay College students planting the dunes.

What a delight then to see eager and enthusiastic Torquay College students hard at work and play down at White’s Beach this week as part of an ongoing partnership between the school, ourselves and the Marine Discovery Centre at Queenscliff. The sound of children’s voices ringing through the dunes was music to the ears while the sight of youngsters involved in coastal conservation activities while learning was a pleasure to behold.

For several years now, scores of local school children have learnt about the fragility and importance of our coast’s dune systems through their participation in the Dune Edu-Action program. The program’s focus on learning by doing sees the students undertaking a range of activities aimed at protecting our coast’s increasingly vulnerable dunes. Such activities include laying brush matting to minimise erosion and planting local indigenous plant species to restore native vegetation cover. Trent with Torquay College students working to protect the dunes

We are a proud partner in this program – providing plants, tools, materials and onsite supervision – and see it as providing a vital foundation to nurturing our coast’s future custodians.

Perhaps it was a similar program that planted the seed during their past primary school days for current students from Deakin University and Gordon Institute of TAFE to take the lead in creating a new coastal volunteer group in Ocean Grove. It was so exciting to hear during the past week about this initiative, which sees the students working in partnership with their local community, Barwon Coast Committee and Coast Action/Coastcare to encourage a fresh approach to caring for the coast. Torquay College students planting out the dunes.

These enterprising young adults are hoping a film night at 7.30pm on Thursday 5 August at the Ocean Grove Chicken Shop inspires other locals, young and old alike, to join them in looking after their patch of Victoria’s beautiful coastline. We applaud them for their initiative and wish them well in this important endeavour.

It’s so heartening to see local young people taking such active roles in caring for the coast as indicated by these two events. It reassures us that the future of our coast – and indeed our world – is in good hands!

We are grateful to Torquay College for providing us with the beautiful photos above and allowing us to reproduce them with this blog.