Coast Guardians continue to kick goals


The 2016 Coast Guardians program is well underway with the Geelong Lutheran College embracing the picturesque blue skies earlier in May.

The Coast Guardians Program is special, ongoing program created by GORCC for year 9 students from four local and regional schools.

Students measure the changes in sand height at the Gap to monitor sand movement and erosion.

The days session began at Fisherman’s Beach Torquay for a Intertidal Beach Exploration before students headed over to Whites Gap for dune analysis.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coast Guardians Education Coordinator Hilary Bouma said the day was a fantastic way to highlight the importance of environmental protection, especially at Whites Gap.

“Students are participating in a ‘Shifting Sands Monitoring Project’ at the Gap to measure the changes in the sand height over the year.

“Programs such as the Coast Guardians allows students to visibly see the seasonal sand movements and erosion that occurs as part of the natural coastal process, and also gain an insight into how human impacts can greatly impact these processes,” she said.


The program is aimed at increasing awareness around coastal conservation issues and encouraging social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

Geelong Lutheran College Year 9 Teacher Dale Thomson has a strong background in marine biology and said the program was a fantastic educational source to allow students to connect with the coastal environment in a meaningful way.

“The program allows students to become broadly considerate on the environment they live in and see the impacts their interactions have within coastal habitats.

“The students begin to understand the complexity of balancing user groups and can see the positive impact of their hands-on participation,” he said.


Students examined a wide variety of sea weeds and shells washed up on beach as Ms Bouma discussed the importance and functions of these marine objects.

Plastic pollution was also a hot topic, and students learnt about the issues and consequences for marine and coastal life from the discarded waste.

A key highlight for the group was working at Whites Gap, the rehabilitation site Geelong Lutheran College Coast Guardians have been working on for the past five years.


“Coastal Guardians delivers supporting, relevant evidence to class based work on the environment, biology, oceanography and meteorology,” Mr Thompson said.

The program is aimed at increasing awareness around environmental issues and encouraging social responsibility and environmental stewardship. Ultimately, it is hoped that participants will be able to walk along a protected coast in years to come and enjoy the benefits of their hard work.


Sea change for uni students

Twenty Federation University students swapped their usual classroom for a two-day camping trip to the iconic Surf Coast in March.

The group of Conservation and Land Management students take the annual trip to the Great Ocean Road to learn about coastal and marine environments as part of their degree. Read more

Forum celebrates Green Army achievements

ANGAIR (Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna) held a career development forum in February to celebrate the contributions made by participants, who have been working hard on a range of conservation projects and tasks including fencing, weed eradication, revegetation and mulching along the Surf Coast. Read more

Push for community to aid pest effort

Foxes are highly adaptable, resilient and cunning pests that prey on both native wildlife and livestock and are considered a threat to 14 species of birds, 48 mammals, 12 reptiles and two species of amphibians.

A fox caught was spotted using infrared cameras in September last year. Foxes have been known to take shelter in coastal vegetation and around homes.

These predators have been declared ‘established invasive animals’ by the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, and a single fox can consume thousands of native animals every year.

You can help to deter the predatory pests and support Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) and Surf Coast Shire Council fox control efforts by removing potential food and shelter sources from your property.

Surf Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr Rose Hodge, said foxes were opportunistic, meaning people could easily unwittingly feed or shelter the pests.

“Within our coastal environments and around our homes, there is an abundance of food available for foxes,” Cr Hodge said.

Vanessa Pike Fox 3.jpg
The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) has played a significant role in the decline of ground-nesting birds, small mammals and reptiles. Photo: Vanessa Pike

“We can all help reduce these food sources by minimising the amount of food left outside, particularly overnight, by covering compost, ensuring rubbish bins are fully closed and cleaning up fallen fruit regularly.”

GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex MacDonald said homeowners should remove structures around their property where foxes may seek refuge or shelter including woody weeds such as boxthorn and blackberries, rubbish piles and old machinery.

“Fencing off rock piles, building materials, hay bales, woodpiles, and underneath houses will also help reduce hiding places foxes can live in,” she said.

GORCC and Council are working together to reduce fox numbers on the coast, with GORCC leading intensive on-ground eradication efforts and monitoring programs in coastal areas with Council funding support.

Council also runs separate fox eradication initiatives on land it manages as part of its annual pest plant and animal programs.

“Fox control requires an ongoing effort and our best chance of reducing numbers on the Surf Coast is for communities and land managers to work together,” said Ms. MacDonald.

Foxes are a particular threat to local, beach nesting Hooded Plovers, with the predators thought to have been behind the disappearance of multiple chicks, eggs and adult birds over the past two years.

“Point Impossible, Point Roadknight and Moggs Creek are being particularly targeted as these sites are known Hooded Plover breeding zones,” said Ms. MacDonald

For more information on pests on the coast and how you can help visit or

How do you help deter foxes and pest animals around your home? Let us know in the comments below. 



Summer by the Sea success

More than 200 beachgoers took part in GORCC led and funded environmental education activities this summer as part of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria 2016 Summer by the Sea (SBTS) program. Read more