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Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Tasmanian Coastal Litter and Marine Debris Survey

Title: Exploring education responses to coastal litter and marine debris in Tasmania through collaborative learning and participation

Marine debris and litter on coastlines is globally recognised as a growing and pervasive problem. Tasmania, being an island state, experiences a range of issues and impacts and is well placed to investigate coastal litter and marine debris problems and solutions.
Emerging research in Tasmania is seeking to understand how people work and learn together and explore education approaches in response to coastal litter and marine debris issues.
The PhD study aims to explore collaboration, learning and participation in education responses to coastal litter and marine debris in Tasmania. It commences with a survey to capture a snapshot of the perceptions and experiences of Tasmanian coastal stakeholders to help identify gaps, strengths and opportunities for education approaches.
This is an opportunity for Tasmanian’s to share their views and experiences and to help inform future responses to coastal litter and marine debris.
All coastal stakeholders are invited to participate in an online survey.

The survey is open until 30th June 2015 and takes 15- 30 minutes to complete. Hard copies are available on request.
This study is led by Leah Page, PhD candidate, Faculty of Education, UTas, is supported by the Alcorso Foundation and the Bookend Trust, and has been approved by the Tasmanian Social Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee H0014628.
Please get involved and help inform future education responses to coastal litter and marine debris in Tasmania.
For more information, contact Leah Page at or 0438 454 260.

Photo: Leah Page with a collection of litter she cleaned up from her local beach. By Barb Lennox.

For more details about this communication:

Ms Leah Page
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Education
University of Tasmania  0438 454 260
View Leah Page’s profile here

Monday, May 4, 2015

Marine activities for primary school aged children

AUSMEPA is a good source for marine education materials for primary and middle school students.

Since the early 2000's teachers have been able to source free posters sets that correspond to free online units of work related to stormwater run-off, marine pests and threats, coral bleaching and climate change, rockpools, ships and ports and the marine environment. They simply email with their name, school, address and telephone number.

Last year the poster portfolio was upgraded and new primary posters were created to meet demand from our clients for single animals. Fact sheets that accompany the new posters are below.

Hermit crab
Fairy penguin
Seahorses and seadragons
Sharks and Rays

The primary posters were a sensation and we were inundated with requests for education units and activities for all levels of primary students to go with the new posters can be found here.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

SEA ANEMONE craft project

Sea anemones are the flowers of the sea. They are related to sea jellies, corals and many other cousins that have polyps with stinging cells. Anemones may live alone or in colonies. They have many colours. They feed by extending their tentacles into the water hoping to catch tiny animals passing by.

Many anemones in cooler southern (or northern) waters are harmless to people although when touched they feel sticky and cling to your finger. 

This anemone is a stylised version using a round plastic bowl and the bottoms of PET drink bottles.

What you need:
  • ·        Round plastic soup/cereal/disposable bowl (alternatively you can use a paper bowl)
  • ·        Plastic PET drink bottles
  • ·        Paper (white)
  • ·        Parchment paper (used in the kitchen for baking)
  • ·        Iron & surface suitable to iron on
  • ·        Scissors
  • ·        Paper
  • ·        pencil or pen
  • ·        Craft glue
  • ·        Acrylic paint

·        An adult should use the iron

What to do:
·        Cut strips from the outside to the inner edge of the inside of the  bowl (you may like to make some curvy by repeatedly scrunching them up to add interest to the shape

·        Cut the bottoms off of a larger and smaller PET drink bottle

·        Put one of the PET bottoms (curved side down) on top of a piece of parchment paper on a soft safe ironing surface

·        Place a second piece of parchment paper over the top of the PET bottom

·        Keeping your hands well away from the iron, gently press the hot iron onto the parchment paper and swirl around gently, pulling the parchment paper off to check often to see that the sides have softened and bent downwards. (Be sure to replace the parchment paper back on top if you need to do more heating)

·        Let cool for a minute or two and repeat with the second PET bottom

·        If your PET drink bottles have a colour you might like to cut rings and soften the edges in the same way as you did with the bottoms  (See inner ring that is green in illustration)

·        To change the way the tentacles look you can use acrylic paint to make them look more like real tentacles 


Link to learn more about red Waratah anemones:

To find activity online go to and click on KISS Art

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ocean Heroes: The Plastics Problem -- 5 Gyres Institute

It is hard, sometimes, to understand why we need to be serious and dedicated to taking the plastic problem onboard. The following clip is a good quick overview that is very persuasive!

Monday, April 13, 2015


AUSMEPA has launched a new flexible student website for helping our marine here environment. It will support a wide range of marine issues that are of ongoing interest as well as those that become topical over time. The main areas of interest will include action projects, habitats, marine creatures and other topics that spring up all the time.  

Mangroves, a marine and coastal issue that students and communities can relate to, have started off the new webpages. The values of mangroves are poorly understood and are far more valuable than people assume. Areas that would be covered:
  • The importance of mangroves as habitat, fish resources, barrier to storms and tsunamis and a carbon sink.
  • Why mangroves are threatened.
  • What are mangroves and where they occur?
  • Mangrove adaptations including examples of life cycles.
  • How saltmarshes are associated with mangroves and their conservation.
  • Animals dependant on mangroves including aquatic and are breathing animals.
  • What is being done and what communities and schools are doing to conserve mangroves. 
  • Community projects, organisations, links and references
This topic can be fitted into a number of areas in science and geography of the Australian Curriculum.

Art and craft activities 

At AUSMEPA we are well aware that implementing many learning styles gives students a better way to embed and communicate what they have learned and it can be lots of imaginative fun.

The new KISS webpages include art and craft activities here under the KISS Craft tab.

Current activities begin looking at elements related to denizens and habitats of the open ocean, coral reefs, rocky reefs, seagrass and wetlands.