Coast Guardians Poem

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 poem written by the Lorne Aireys Inlet students which they presented at the 2016 Coast Guardians Forum Read more

Anglesea PS celebrates the plight of the plover

The first annual Plover Appreciation Day was held by BirdLife Australia on September 16 to encourage people across the globe to honour the plight of the plover.

Grade 4-6 Anglesea Primary School students celebrated the day with variety on fun, educational Hooded Plover related activities hosted by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC).

The vulnerable Hooded Plover was the focus of the day for Anglesea Primary School students as it nests on local beaches along the Surf Coast.

GORCC aimed to increase student’s awareness about the fragility of the Hooded Plover in breeding season through activities including colouring ins, and creating banners, masks.

GORCC used the sand box to highlight the importance of the our beach ecosystem for the Hooded Plover to nest along the coast.

GORCC Education Coordinator Pete Crowcroft said it was great to see the students getting involved in the different activities.

“Students were really enthusiastic about painting the banners to help increase awareness about how to save the Hooded Plover,” he said.

Click on the photos below to see some of the action from the day.

In conjunction with BirdLife Australia, GORCC is running a local #SaveTheHoodie campaign to encourage beachgoers to keep their dogs on leads and give hoodie chicks space to help ensure their survival. For more information about how you can help protect these vulnerable birds visit the Save The Hoodie website.

Interested in getting involved?  To volunteer contact BirdLife Australia at

Combined forces sees conservation win

TAFE students have joined forces with a local environmental group, resulting in multiple benefits, including the removal of thousands of invasive weeds and the development of positive, ongoing relationships.

Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR) united with Gordon Conservation and Land Management students recently to remove Sallow Wattle and Boneseed from Anglesea’s outskirts.

The day saw strong relationships formed between the two groups, leading many students to continue to volunteer their time with ANGAIR outside of their studies.

ANGAIR committee member Roger Ganley (left), Surf Coast Shire Environment Officer Leanne Rolfe (yellow), ANGAIR committee member Janet Stephens (front right)and property owner Heather Walker (far right) with Gordon TAFE students during a successful weed removal day within Aireys Inlet.
ANGAIR committee member Roger Ganley (left), Surf Coast Shire Environment Officer Leanne Rolfe (yellow), ANGAIR committee member Janet Stephens (front right)and property owner Heather Walker (far right) with Gordon TAFE students during a successful weed removal day within Aireys Inlet.

The students, inspired by their experience, have been participating in local working bees and assisting with the propagation of indigenous plants.

ANGAIR Membership Secretary Janet Stephens said students developed a great rapport with the volunteers, proving age is no barrier when it comes to conservation.

“They were terrific – not only were we able to get a lot of weeding done, but we were also able to pass on our knowledge and experience for the younger generation to take on board,” she said.

TAFE students working hard at removing harmful weeds on the outskirts of Anglesea.
TAFE students working hard at removing harmful weeds on the outskirts of Anglesea.

Gordon Course Coordinator Amanda May said the day was a huge success, with both parties enjoying the benefits of the partnership.

“ANGAIR has benefited from the injection of youthful energy, enthusiasm and muscle.

“In turn, students have learnt a great deal about weed control, working with volunteers, and planning and running a community event,” Ms May said.

In an additional project, Gordon students have also targeted a Bluebell Creeper weed infestation on private properties within Aireys Inlet.

Surf Coast Environmental Officer Leanne Rolfe (centre) and ANGAIR Committee Member Roger Ganley (right) with grateful landowner who made chocolate snowballs for hardworking volunteers.
Surf Coast Environmental Officer Leanne Rolfe (centre) and ANGAIR Committee Member Roger Ganley (right) with grateful landowner who made chocolate snowballs for hardworking volunteers.

Gordon students Kate Skinner and Rachael Beecham prepared site assessment reports for two Anglesea sites and will now develop a management plan for these selected sites.

“Large amounts of the creeper were removed in June, hopefully protecting rare Orchid plants in the future.

“The beautiful orchids were almost completely covered by the Creeper when we first arrived and we were able to make a positive impact, although there is definitely more to be done,” she said.

For more information on coastal, environmental volunteering visit ANGAIR is always on the lookout for new faces and there are lots of ways you can contribute to the group’s conservation efforts. For more information visit


Related blog posts:

The Peninsula Daisy Bush Funds for rare flora
The Gordon TAFE offers a number of courses that have an environmentally sustainable emphasis. Sustainable careers in focus

Forum Focusses on Biodiversity Issues

The Otway Biodiversity Forum was held in Colac recently with participants attending from across the region.  Groups representated included  management bodies,  government agencies,  and community organisations.

The Forum, hosted by the Otway Community Conservation Network (OCCN), discussed how current conservation projects and ideas can be linked, prioritized, and improved upon and was aimed at increasing community awareness and improving ecological values and environmental well-being.

biodiversity forum

Department of Environment and Primary Industries District Planning Manager (Otway District) Craig Clifford said the forum was a well organised and productive day.

“By bringing all the stakeholders together to discuss projects, ideas and possible linkages/partnerships the OCCN can ensure an integrated approach to land management.

“The OCCN provides a platform for groups who do not fit within  formalised networks and provides the support and leadership they need,” he said.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Supervisor Georgina Beale attended the day and was happy with the progress made by all groups.

“We have been able to discover related projects and identify other groups who have the same goals.   Hopefully we can team up in the future and have a greater positive  impact on the environment,” she said.



Ms. Beale believes programs like GORCC’s Environmental Education Program can really benefit from increased support and partnerships.

“Community organisations and volunteer groups are vital in educating the younger generation…without them, students may not appreciate and take care of the environment,” she says.

To learn more about the Otway Community Conservation Network (OCCN) and how they can help your group or organisation to reach your environmental goals, check out the video below:

The OCCN host regular biodiveristy forums and representatives from all regional groups and organisations are invited to attend. To learn more,  contact Luke Hynes on 0406 113 438 or email

Joint force protects threatened woodlands

Anglesea Coast Action (ACA ) has joined forces with other coastal volunteer groups, students, a local business and local land managers to protect threatened Coastal Moonah Woodlands.

ACA secretary Carl Rayner said the work, which is focused on the sand dunes at Main Beach Anglesea, was necessary protect nearby Moonah Woodlands from the devastating impact of environmental weeds.

“Birds transfer seeds via their droppings into the woodland and the weeds then grow, eventually taking over the area by sucking all the moisture out of the soil and killing the Moonah trees,” said Mr Rayner.

Year nine students from St Bernard’s Catholic Boys College in Essendon assist ACA in their conservation work each year.

Students can be seen dragging cut vegetation from the sand dunes to the car park for mulching and using bow saws to cut smaller shrubs and trees.

Year 9 student volunteers from St Bernards Catholic Boys College Essendon working at Anglesea Main Beach.

St Bernard’s Campus Director Mark Smith said the project was an outdoor education experience for students and that for some it was their first experience of the coastal environment.

“The students gain an understanding of the natural environment and engage with the community and it provides them with great insight into coastal management,” he said.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Team organises the mulching of cut vegetation after working bees, which is then recycled for use at the time of planting.

Conservation Officer Georgie Beale said Coastal Moonah Woodlands were listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, which identifies them as a threatened ecological community and a high conservation priority.

“Our team works to protect and enhance Moonah plant communities on a regular basis by removing environmental weeds along a wide range of sites right along the coast,” she said.

Once the site has been prepared, the Torquay Landcare Group facilitates approximately 40 staff volunteers from Quicksilver to plant 1500 indigenous plants in one day.

Torquay Landcare Group (TLG) member Rhonda Bunbury said that for four years, Quiksilver Foundation has sponsored Torquay Landcare in the group’s re-vegetation projects.

“It’s a fun day as well as hard work but there is a reward in watching the dunes come back to life with plants that belong in the dunes’ environment and which enrich the dune habitat,” said Ms Bunbury.

The project is supported by a $4,300 grant from the Coastal Small Grants program at the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority.

The ACA group meets on the second Saturday of each month at the Motor Yacht Club Point Roadknight for a working bee held 10am to 12noon. Anyone who would like to get involved can contact Carl Rayner on (03) 5263 2193 or (03) 9331 2810 email:

This story was written by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee and published in the Surf Coast Time’s Going Green Column.

Connections make light work of coastal erosion

As a small group comprising only five to six volunteers at the time, Anglesea Coast Action was pondering the problem of how to find the resources needed to control erosion in a popular coastal reserve.

The group had developed a solution that involved lining a stormwater drainage channel with rock, which sounded simple enough. Implementing that solution would, however, take at least a year of monthly working bees due to the small number of hands available to do the work.

Through Coast Action/Coastcare, the group established a connection with some young university students staying at a local camp who had expressed a desire to do some voluntary work in the area.

The students readily agreed to help Anglesea Coast Action and, within one hour, the task was finished (about 40-metres of rock lining).

The benefits of the students’ involvement went way beyond providing the extra hands and muscle to get the job done.

A strong sense of camaraderie between the young students and the more mature volunteers contributed to an enjoyable experience for all concerned. The students seemed to gain a great deal of satisfaction in helping to look after the coast, which uplifted the spirits of the Coast Action members.

Anglesea Coast Action has since replanted the area with indigenous species, with the result attracting much positive feedback from the local community, including residents, visitors, volunteers and land managers.

This experience illustrates:

  • the benefits of partnerships, in terms of bringing others into projects to work together – many hands really do make light work
  • the importance of having an experienced and responsible group leader to organise and coordinate project activities
  • the need to plan ahead to ensure the activity is well organised and run on the day – the logistics of this project were important, particularly in relation to sourcing materials and equipment, and supervising volunteers, and
  • the positive outcomes achieved through good communication, including gaining the approval and support of relevant land manager/s.

Story provided by Carl Rayner, Anglesea Coast Action

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.