Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TALKING OCEAN: Marine Discovery Centres from top to bottom

Australia's Marine Discovery Centers (MDC) share information and assist each other with inspiration on how to attain the best possible outcomes for education about the marine environment. This month two school-based two Marine Discovery Centres, situated respectively in the northern and southern coastal regions of Australia, did just that.

Tagai College News
Andrew Denzin who also recently received the well earned Queensland Green Teachers Award doesn't sit on his laurels. When provided with the opportunity, the Marine Studies Coordinator, Tagai College, on Thursday Island headed down to Adelaide accompanied by Torres Strait Regional Authority's well respected Sea Ranger, Frank Loban and Matthew Denzin, Associate Principal of Tagai College with the idea of visiting the awarded Henley Beach Marine Discovery Centre at the Star of the Sea College in South Australia.

The visit allowed for sharing ideas and a dialog on continuing progress of the Tagai College facility, currently undergoing design, renovation and update changes that contribute to their Marine Studies Centre of Excellence.

Both MDCs are education partners with AUSMEPA, who have just completed publication of two literacy readers specifically for the Torres Strait.

Find out more about the Australian Marine Environment Protection Association (AUSMEPA) here
Find Henley Beach MDC South Australia newsletter here
Find Torres Strait Queensland Green Teacher news here 
Find out more about Australia's network of Marine Discovery Centers here

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shore Bird Protection; New South Wales

A healthy Australian coastal environment can be ascertained fairly easily by the presence 
or absence of the birds associated with that ecosystem. However sea and shore birds often 
have a difficult time sharing space with people and their activities.

Volunteers associated with the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre along the southern 
coast of New South Wales have been involved in a program co-ordinated by the NSW National 
and Wildlife Service to provide some protection for the birds.

Volunteering either as a community member or through school participation can contribute to the health of our coasts and oceans. There are many possibilities both local and national. To find out what is available in your area speak with your local council or search online

Visit the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Center here

FOR TEACHERS: AUSMEPA's new Coastal Conservation Leadership unit of work for schools will be available on our website in the next month or so. Watch this space!

Visit the AUSMEPA website here

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Re-using bottle tops to seal and re-use plastic bags

In the interests of removing plastic from the environment you've probably done your best to eliminate plastic drink bottles and plastic bags from your home. However if you still find some sneak into the house you may be interested in an email forward received recently demonstrating a novel way to re-use bottle tops to create an airtight seal on a plastic bag. [Test the bag for any holes first]

"Cut up a disposable water bottle and keep the neck and top, as in photo.

Insert the plastic bag through the neck and screw the top – to seal.

The bottle is made to be air-tight, such that water will not leak, the secret lies with the top and screw!"

[Forwarded by S Best]

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

INDO PACIFIC CORAL FINDER: Coral Identification, Capacity Building and the Coral Hub

Corals are an amazing natural phenomenon of our Australian waters and indicators of the health of our coastal seas. Russell Kelley's guide will be in demand as it demonstrates how excellence in science communication makes identifying corals a whole lot easier in and out of the water.

The guide here contains over 700 images on 36 plastic pages and can be used to identify 70 coral genera anywhere in the Indo-Pacific. Clear visuals are provided with text limited to concise clear plain language, a must for those who are monitoring, surveying or merely curious. At the end of October it will be complimented by the supporting Coral Hub website and a suite of video training movies.

To get a sense of the website's look and feel go here

Some introductory movies can be found here and here. Over 90 minutes of dedicated coral identification training movies are currently in production and will be available on the website by the end of October 2010.
For information related to AUSMEPA school resources on Coral Bleaching and Climate Change for middle year students and teachers click here.


Poodwaddle World Clock
Have you ever come across internet world clocks? They are both interesting and scary. On a world scale they highlight statistics about people with a temporal context not in terms of centuries or decades but changes occuring from moment to moment.
A few that may be of interest to you are:
World Clock click here
Worldometer click here
Breathing Earth click here

Teachers using AUSMEPA educational resources (click here) might find these novel devices useful to demonstrate how it is that we know that our oceans are coming under increasing pressure. More people, more activities of people and the resulting increases in pollution that affect us all.

Additionally there is an opportunity to talk about how the ocean has changed from our grandparents and our parents time to the world in our eyes today -- also known as shifting baselines. To view a slideshow from the that demonstrates shifting baselines in relation to fish numbers in the sea click here. Although this slideshow was made in the North America we Aussies are entitled to be proud that the Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary signage in the slide show is from Ricketts Point in Beaumaris, Victoria.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ARIES: Fostering Environment Sustainability in Accounting

One of the challenges in the emerging cultural shift towards protecting the ocean revolves around the fact that environmental service costings are not a classic element of the balance sheet used by business and industry. Notable, however, is that a key strategy in the Australian Government's National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability in key professions may be bringing this a little closer.

The Australian Research Institute for Environment and Sustainability (ARIES) have been exploring the question around the drivers and barriers to progressing the integration of sustainabiity into the accounting profession. In conjunction with Macquarie University and the University of Technology Sydney, ARIES hosted the first of a series of high level rountable dialog forums to better articulate the nature of the ‘soft skills’ which need to be incorporated into accounting professional education for the future.

 Imagine a time where we might see equitable values placed on environmental services and pollution impacts before they hit the ocean outfall. Some businesses have led the way and many have discovered some extra profits around better waste managment. It is nice to think that ARIES is making an effort to bring the barriers down and facilitate a new sustainability paradigm.

If you would like to know more about how this project is progressing or would like to download the project report click here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

SPOTLIGHT ON: Marine Education at Australian Aquariums

Underwater World, Mooloolaba. 
Who doesn’t love an aquarium? As a coast loving country Australia is lucky enough to have several significant aquariums. They are places where you actually get to see marine life first hand, and if you are lucky enough, really learn about what life is like under the sea. Excursions to an aquarium will be long remembered and can provide teachers with a wealth of all weather practical opportunities to inspire.

Good quality aquariums provide a tremendous service to the community by offering school programs that not only teach about ocean wildlife but also the need for sustainable solutions for keeping oceans healthy.

Cooper and Fred look at litter
At UnderWater World in Mooloolaba, for example, middle year students undertaking the Message in a Bottle 4 program examine the effects of human action on the natural environment. The program is one that aims to encourage sustainability, stewardship and ways students can actively participate in conserving their ocean environments.

If you want a great excursion, go to an aquarium!

To find more about Aussie aquariums:
o UnderWater World in Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast, Queensland (click here)
o Reef HQ of Townsville, Queensland (click here)
o Oceanworld Manly in Manly, New South Wales (click here)
o Sydney Aquarium in Sydney, New South Wales (click here)
o Melbourne Aquarium, Victoria (click here)
o The Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) (click here)

PRE/POST VISIT STUDIES: Teachers can take advantage of AUSMEPA's freeonline marine education packages as pre or post aquarium visit studies. (click here)  
Posters are also available.