Action Day helps ‘Seal the Loop’

Torquay College students joined in on the annual Seal the Loop Action Day – a day aimed to help untangle the threats to marine wildlife and raise awareness about the impact marine debris. 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).

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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.

Students take action in sealing the loop

Torquay College was one of four Victorian schools to learn about the threats local marine wildlife face as part of Zoos Victoria’s Seal the Loop Action Day, held Friday November 7.

Zoos Victoria experts used fun play-based activities to educate and entertain students from Torquay College, Warrnambool East Primary School, Rye Primary School, and Melbourne Girls College.

Torquay College students wear the Seal the Loop shirts in support of protecting marine wildlife.
Zoos Victoria staff members wear their Seal the Loop shirts in support of protecting marine wildlife. Photo: Zoos Victoria

A Zoos Victoria spokesperson said the Action Day is an opportunity for the next generation of extinction fighters to become activists on behalf of marine wildlife.

“It is a great way to encourage a simple action which has real benefits to wildlife.

“Connecting students to these issues from an early age helps to broaden their understanding of the importance of the environment and its precious wildlife.”

Torquay College students participating in the Seal the Loop program
Students at the Seal the Loop program

Students wore blue to show their support on the day, which ended with a beach clean-up – an action which directly benefits local wildlife.

There was plenty of rubbish collected along the Torquay foreshore.
Plenty of litter was collected along the Torquay foreshore. Photo: Zoos Victoria.

Zoos Victoria sees over 150,000 school students every year, spreading the message about wildlife protection.

The Zoos Victoria Spokesperson said Seal the Loop Action Day is an opportunity to engage school aged students about the Seal the Loop campaign and its importance in our local community.

“Zoos Victoria’s Seal the Loop campaign encourages the responsible disposal of fishing line and fishing waste through the use of specifically designed bins installed in popular fishing areas across Victoria.

“Every year, it is estimated fishing line entanglements result in the death of 1,400 seals.

“Zoos Victoria cannot fight the extinction of threatened species without the support of students.”

Warrnambool
The Seal the Loop campaign encourages every community member to protect the marine wildlife. Photo: Zoos Victoria.

To find out how you or your local school can become involved in the Seal the Loop campaign, click here.

Future generations caring for our coast

250 local students recently joined forces with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) and Fisheries Victoria to plant more than 800 indigenous plants as part of an annual event with a long history.

Year 3-4 Students from Torquay College were not afraid to get their hands dirty during the Coastal Stewards Program.
Year 3-4 Students from Torquay College were not afraid to get their hands dirty during the Coastal Stewards Program.

The Coastal Stewards Program (previously known as Dune Edu-Action) has been running for more than 10 years and has enabled thousands of students to make a positive contribution to our coastal environment.

The program aims to teach students to take ownership of their local environment and create generational change.

Phil Armato, Manager at the Queenscliff Marine and Fresh Water Discovery Centre believes it’s crucial to educate future generations to care for our precious coast.

“The program empowers the children to make a difference in their community, and that’s a big deal when you’re only in grade 3 or 4.

“These children are our future leaders, parents and voters. It will pay-off in the long run that they care for their coast,” Mr. Armato said.

Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale show students how to best protect indigenous plants by surrounding their roots with water crystals.
Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale show students Tom (left) and Finn how to best protect indigenous plants by surrounding their roots with water crystals.

This year’s program saw grade 3 and 4 students from Torquay College plant indigenous flora along Fisherman’s Beach in 2 hours sessions over three days.

Torquay College teacher Dianne Dendle said the program provides an opportunity for the kids to put their classroom learning into practice.

“We have been learning about biodiversity, sustainability, recycling and marine parks, including how humans impact on these issues.

“Coming out here and getting our hands dirty means what the children have been learning in class becomes relevant and is put into practice,” Ms. Dendle said.

From left to right: Amelia, Ava, and Tahlia from Torquay College enjoy the tree-planting day as part of the Coastal Stewards Program.
From left to right: Amelia, Ava, and Tahlia from Torquay College enjoy the tree-planting day as part of the Coastal Stewards Program.

Ms Dendle also believes the program plays an important part in teaching students to appreciate and care for the environment they live in.

“It is a hands-on activity which means the children can see how the area has been affected, grow a sense of respect and ownership for the environment and make a difference in the community,” she said.

GORCC contributed indigenous plants and gardening equipment to the program, which Conservation Supervisor, Georgina Beale said was a great success.

“The students made a fantastic impact on our coastal environment by planting approximately 800 indigenous plants as well as learning how to protect their local environment.”

Phil Armetto will plant existing shrubbery around the young, indigenous plants to help protect them as they grow.
Phil Armato will plant existing shrubbery around the young, indigenous plants to help protect them as they grow.

For more information about environmental education activities on our coast click here.

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.