Coast Guardians Forum a day of learning and fun

The 2017 GORCC Coast Guardians Forum was a day of celebration and inspiration for the 140 year 9 students, teachers and staff from the four local schools who attended at the Surf Coast Shire Grant Pavilion in Torquay. The weather was not in our favour, but the spirits were high for a fun-filled day with delicious food, wonderful donated goods as prizes, local coastal expertise.

Students were treated to a moving Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony provided by the local Wathaurung representatives, Corrina O’Toole and Norm Stanley. Norm’s didgeridoo playing provided a magnificent addition to the smoking ceremony which welcomes all people to the Wadawurrung area for a day of clean and clear hearts and thinking. The students listened and absorbed the atmosphere respectfully and joyfully.

Welcome to Country2
Norm Stanley played the didgeridoo as a part of a Welcome to Country Ceremony with the assistance of Corrina O’Toole.

Corrina also conducted workshops for the students to learn of Wadawurrung culture and practices to care for the coast, including painting with clay and weaving plants for hair decorations, which the students really enjoyed.

Further workshops were conducted for the students by local award-winning film maker Jarrod Boord who facilitated making a stop motion mini movie about plastic and marine debris on our coast. What an opportunity to work with a professional movie maker and create something to show people in 25 minutes!

Yr 9 students with Jarrod learning about stop-motion animation
Year 9 students with Jarrod Boord learning about stop-motion animation.

Local artist Lisa Hunter inspired the students to create their own GORCC Enviro Bag decorations using individualised messages and decorative stencils of local animals and plants. Lisa created some wonderful stencils of moonah trees, bandicoots, hooded plover and dolphins (to name a few) for students to paint and have an individualised bag of their own and reduce plastic bag waste on the coast.

Bandicoot Moonah tree tote bags
Just two of the beautifully decorated tote bags by our Coast Guardians.

Nadine Berry from Anglesea’s EcoLogic brought an amazing array of local preserved wildlife specimens including koalas, possums, owls and other creatures for the students to look and feel closely at their features for survival. Nadine also showed the students how to discover the tracks, traces and evidence that the animals are here on the coast.

Our own GORCC Education staff member, Pete Crowcroft, looked at Things up Close, utilising the new GORCC Environmental Education trailer’s microscopes.  The students were amazed to see the boulders, crystals and pieces of shell found in the rainbow of a few grains of beach sand, and the tiny pieces of micro plastic contained in the face wash many people use each day.

Fungi from Great Ocean Road Coast Committee on Vimeo.


We looked at different objects magnified at up to 250x, which showed details of everyday objects that we usually would not see. Some students collected a mushroom to have a look at the gills magnified, and were excited to find many small grubs that were too small to see with the naked eye crawling inside.

Students also contributed to the day with prepared verbal and visual presentations about their experience as Coast Guardians. They presented informative talks and posters addressing environmental issues and informing the participants of the amazing biodiversity on the coast.

Our Guest Presenter, Jess Brown from Melbourne Zoo, provided an informative, confronting and inspiring presentation about the Zoos Victoria Marine Response Unit rescuing marine life (particularly seals) who have become entangled in marine debris. Jess spoke of the fact that Zoos Victoria is a conservation based organisation now that deals with real life issues to prevent animals’ extinction on our planet. Students also learned of practical ways to combat the problem of marine debris on their coast by participating in the beach clean-ups and sending data to the Australian Marine Debris Data Base, and using bubbles rather than balloons at events such as parties and festivals.

Jarrod (Streamline Media) and Jess (Zoos Vic)
Filmmaker Jarrod Boord with guest presenter Jess Brown from Zoos Victoria.

“The 2017 GORCC Coast Guardians Forum was a wonderful day where we expect the local Coast Guardian students were inspired further to care for the natural beauty and assets on the Surf Coast, and to continue their stewardship in the future.” Hilary Bouma, Education Coordinator for the Coast Guardians.

Fresh Air Kids – Term 2 | Week 5

The Fresh Air Kids is a group of local families that want their children to spend time in the great outdoors, learning through playing in nature.

A community partnership with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Fresh Air Kids aims to encourage local coastal kids to grow up observing the environment in more detail than even most adults do.

Read more

Fresh Air Kids – Term 2 | Week 1

The Fresh Air Kids is a group of local families that want their children to spend time in the great outdoors, learning through playing in nature.

A community partnership with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Fresh Air Kids aims to encourage local coastal kids to grow up observing the environment in more detail than even most adults do. Read more

Wild weather for KAOS

Hundreds of kids aged between 3 and 13 descended down the coast to Anglesea last weekend as part of the Kids Adventures Outdoors (KAOS).

KAOS Anglesea is an adventure festival designed to encourage, nurture and provide the opportunity for families and kids to explore and take part in a range of exciting outdoor activities. Read more

Summer activities a success!

It’s been fun all summer long with more than 50 environmental education activities run with campers of all ages at the Torquay and Lorne Foreshore Caravan Parks.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee has been conducting the free activities as part of their camper activity program throughout January. Read more

Visitors & locals get involved in open event

Australia Day weekend saw crowds flock to the foreshore to enjoy the spectacular weather.   The GORCC Open Day was held on the Saturday of the three day holiday, with a marquee set up on the Elephant Walk Reserve in Torquay.


The successful event attracted approximately 160 locals and visitors who came along to have their say, learn about GORCC’s work and projects, enjoy the giveaways and prizes on offer or particpate in the fun, free environmental activities.

Not surprisingly the activity stall was the stand out favourite of the day providing entertainment and education to kids of all ages who made their own ‘insect hotels’, created their own Hooded Plover badges and more.

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While the kids were busy creating their masterpieces, mums, dads and grandparents asked questions about the coast and had their say on GORCC projects. The GORCC’s Draft Coastal User Transport Strategy was on display as was information about coastal hazards and coastal safety.

The day also included promotion of GORCC’s Save the Hoodie Campaign.  A sign featuring ‘Hamish the Hoodie’ was on display, giving people a chance to enter the #SavetheHoodie campaign and go into the draw for $1000 in prizes. More information can be found at and the competition closes on 1st April 2015.

A $1000 Quicksilver voucher is also up for grabs as part of this year’s Coast Survey.

Did you visit the GORCC Australia Day weekend stall?  What did you think? Share your thoughts below!