Its a hoodie life (and some incredible hoodie facts)

Did you know that without active management, Hooded Plovers (aka ‘hoodies’) only have a 2.5% chance of survival from egg to adult?  Or that hoodies breed as a pair, with both male and female taking turns to incubate the eggs? Read more

#SaveTheHoodie and Win!

Local businesses Ghanda Clothing Torquay and Go Ride A Wave (GRAW) have thrown support behind the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC’s) #SaveTheHoodie campaign to encourage protection of the threatened Hooded Plover during their 2015/16 breeding season. Read more

Volunteers rip into environmental protection

80 Rip Curl employees have joined forces with locals to protect the coastline as part of an annual event that has seen more than 80,000 indigenous plants planted on the Surf Coast over 14 years.

Enthusiastic Rip Curl staff from the Torquay Head Office worked at a range of sites including Point Impossible, Bells Beach, Bird Rock, and Whites Beach.

Rip Curl staff were divided in to 6 teams, coordinated by volunteers from Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment (SANE), Jan Juc Coast Action, Torquay Coast Action and staff from the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC).

Rip Curl staff Aloise Bersan, Sam O'Dwyer and Robbie Cullen aren't afraid to get their hands dirty on the 2014 Rip Curl Planet Day.
Rip Curl staff Aloise Bersan, Sam O’Dwyer and Robbie Cullen aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty on the 2014 Rip Curl Planet Day.

Rip Curl CEO Stephan Kay said the results give him a sense of achievement and pride.

“It’s great to see the transformation of the coastal foreshore that’s occurred as a result of these efforts.

“I love seeing the 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.

Each year, Rip Curl gives back to the community and demonstrates a strong commitment to the local environment by giving their employees the opportunity to participate in a paid work day of volunteering.

Rip Curl employees completed a river clean-up and planting day at Spring Creek, one of many locations targeted on the Day,
Rip Curl employees completed a river clean-up and planting day at Spring Creek, one of many locations targeted on the Day.

Planet Day Director Mark Flanagan said the primary focus of the event is to positively contribute to the public spaces in and around the Surf Coast.

“We liaise with the community groups that help manage the areas throughout the whole year and work under their guidelines,” he said.

GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex Sedger said Rip Curl is a strong advocate for environmental protection.

“The event allows a major global company to give back to the coastal environment, engage their staff, and raise awareness around local environmental issues.

The Rip Curl staff and volunteers were involved in indigenous tree planting, weed eradication, and coastal cleanup works across two days

“The Rip Curl employees weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty in planting and weeding works, and some went to extreme lengths to collect rubbish in Spring Creek using stand up paddle boards,” said Ms. Sedger.

IMG_8836
The Rip Curl team makes cleaning fun using paddle boards along Spring Creek.

 

Ms. Sedger said a number of unexpected items of rubbish were discovered.

“A car battery, bull-bar and about 50 golf balls were removed in the process,” she said.

Click here for further information on the Rip Curl Planet Day, or here to find out how you can start volunteering along the surf coast.

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.

Protecting Our Endangered Locals

Three very special bird species are calling the Surf Coast home and need your help to survive.
 
 
Birds Australia volunteers work tirelessly every year to protect and monitor endangered coastal birds, nesting along the coastline. They have the challenging task of protecting the birds from the many threats they face.

Three coastal birds species are particularly vulnerable along the Surf Coast; Hooded Plover, Red-necked Stints and Red-capped Plovers.    

 

Hooded Plovers

Hooded Plovers are a rare, endangered species and the Surf Coast is home to several  Hooded Plover nesting sites.  The plovers are now extinct in Queensland, fewer than 50 occur in New South Wales and only 400 are thought to remain in Victoria. 

The species is especially vulnerable because they nest on beaches and their eggs are easy to step on and their chicks are susceptible to danger.  Any disturbance will also drive adult birds away from their eggs and chicks.                                                                                                                

Hooded Plover Chicks at Point Roadknight
This year pairs have been spotted nesting at Point Addis (Red Rocks Beach) and Point Impossible in addition to the well known pairs nesting at Point Roadknight – made famous through their own Twitter site and identifiable by their orange leg flags.
Hooded Plover Chicks at Point Roadknight
  
The pair at the tip of Point Roadknight produced the first chick for Victoria this season, and just recently chicks have hatched in their second nest.  Unfortunately the Point Addis pair has not been so lucky – having abandoned their nest, possibly due to dogs which are often left to roam in the area.
  

 

Red-necked Stints

Red-necked Stints are small migratory waders which forage on exposed reefs and in wet sand and shelter amongst the seaweed.

The protected species lives only in estuarine tidal flats, meaning we are very lucky to have them call the Surf Coast home.   Around 170-200 of these vulnerable little birds have been sighted in the area.

The stints breed in Alaska and Siberia, and take about 1 ½ weeks to get to Australia with one stopover in Asia.  They spend their time in Australia building up their bodyweight for the long trip home in autumn.

 

Red-capped Plovers

Red-capped Plovers are similar in size to the Red-necked Stints, but are white with a grey back and red cap on their heads.  They are also beach nesters, so that their eggs and chicks are very vulnerable to disturbance and they are now declining in numbers.
 

Measures are being taken to protect these vulnerable birds

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee has built a fenced refuge area and erected special signs along the beach at Point Roadknight for the hooded plovers while the Surf Coast Shire Council has designated dog-free zone areas and Birds Australia volunteers monitor sites and identify threats to the birds.
 

You can help

By ensuring dogs are on the leash on beaches where the birds are found and by avoiding the dog prohibited refuge sites.  You can also help by observing the signs and staying well away from any birds.
 

To get involved

Get involved and play a more active role in their conservation please contact Meghan Cullen at Birds Australia m.cullen@birdsaustralia.com.au or phone 03 9347 0757.

Story provided by Birds Australia, Birds Australia Volunteers and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee for the Surf Coast Times ‘Going Green’ column.