Wednesday, October 27, 2010


One of the truly great things going in Australia are the networks of marine environmental education centres here. Here are two Western Australian favourites:

Dolphin Discovery Centre, Bunbury, Western Australia 

The Dolphin Discovery Centre is a non-profit organisation committed to dolphin research, education, conservation and tourism.  The Centre was opened in 1994, and is the first Centre in Australia dedicated entirely to dolphin research. The Centre is located in Bunbury, a thriving city approxi mately 180 kilometres south of Perth in Western AustraliaFacing Koombana Bay to the North, the Centre enables people to interact with Bottlenose dolphins in a variety of ways.

There are up to 100 dolphins living in the Bay and groups of them regularly visit the shallow waters in front of the Centre.  

To find out more about the Bunbury center click here 

Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre – Hillarys Boat Harbour, Western Australia
The NMDC is situated within the Department of Fisheries’ Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories. The display was conceived around three major themes: marine biology and ecology; knowledge-driven management; and people and communities. It contains live exhibits (aquaria), interactive displays, touch screens with high-quality multimedia content, LCD screens, objects, viewing windows into working laboratories, artworks, a gift shop, education programs and a future marine discovery trail linking the Centre with the Aquarium of WA at the southern end of the harbour

To find our more about the Hillarys centre click here

MARINE LABORATORY OPENS: Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre

It is a great thing when science and education can keep so close company. In Eden, NSW, that is just what is happening with the launch of their new Marine Laboratory. Visit this fascinating Marine Discovery Center here to find out more.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Australia’s Coral Sea Red List

Cleaning station courtesy of Guy Shepherd
There was a time when the Coral Sea was primarily known for it's treacherous uncharted reefs. The once terrifying Coral Sea still has many mysteries and stories to discover but our knowledge has increased exponentially in the last 50 years. First we were mystified, then dazzled and now there is growing concern. 

At the southern reach of the Coral Sea the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) here recently held a social dive and snorkel at Flinders Reef, part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park. The event provided both novice and veteran divers alike with a remarkable surprise as they ventured into the rich coral gardens. The underwater vistas of tropical fish, coral and turtles rivaled more famous reefs to the north. 
Photo courtesy of Tony Isaacson

On the outbound journey the visitors were primed with much interesting and valuable information by Reef Check volunteers here, who have been surveying this reef and many other locations for some time.

It has been pointed out, however, that the Coral Sea is not immune to the vagaries that beset our oceans. The following are Quick Facts about the Coral Sea Red List here provided for your information by the Protect Our Coral Sea campaign

Australia’s Coral Sea Home to over 300 Threatened Animal Species:
Quick Facts

·         336 IUCN Red Listed species occur in the Co
ral Sea Conservation Zone (CSCZ). The majority of the species (51%) have decreasing population trends, indicating that they are either slow to respond to protection measures or that protection measures to date have been insufficient to stop their global decline.

·         24 IUCN Red Listed species occur in the CSCZ, including the critically endangered Beck’s Petrel. A fairy tern that resembles the New Caledonia race has been confirmed to occur in the CSCZ. With an estimated 100-200 breeding pairs of this species, the islets and cays of the CSCZ may be habitat for a significant portion of this species[1].

·         219 IUCN Red Listed species occur in the CSCZ. Globally, 229 coral species are listed as critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable[2] and 96 (42%) of these occur in the CSCZ.

Dolphins and Whales:
·         There are 26 IUCN Red Listed species that occur in the CSCZ, including the endangered blue, sei and fin whales.  The blue whale is the largest animal on Earth.

Lepoard shark courtesy of AMCS
·         16 bony fish species on the IUCN Red List occur in the CSCZ. The majority of these fish are associated with coral reefs and belong to the grouper family (e.g. Orange-spotted grouper, brown-marbled grouper).  Barry the humphead wrasse, the charismatic spokesfish for the Protect Our Coral Sea campaign, is endangered globally, though populations appear healthy in Australia.  This species is currently taken from the wild for the marine aquarium industry.
·         46 species of shark and ray on the IUCN Red List occur in the CSCZ including the endangered squat-headed hammerhead and scalloped hammerhead sharks.

Marine Turtles:
·         At least five of the seven species of marine turtle occur in the CSCZ. Green turtles are listed as endangered, leatherback and hawksbill turtles are both critically endangered and olive ridley and loggerhead turtles are listed as vulnerable.

[1] Wildiaries Trip Report. 2009. Project Lihou Trip Report.[]. Downloaded on 5th October, 2010.
[1] IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3. []. Downloaded on 5th October, 2010.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Climate Literacy: "The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences"

Want to know if your perceptions about climate change are on the money? A great site to help you make sure has A Guide for Individuals and Communities and you can find the document here

Teachers: find AUSMEPAs unit plan on the Effects of climate change on coral bleaching here

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Reef Life Survey (RLS) here is a national program that commenced three years ago with the goal of improving marine resource management by developing and resourcing a network of skilled volunteer SCUBA divers to collect reliable and scientifically-credible information on the state of the marine environment. Through the skills and experience of appropriate SCUBA divers, as well as partnerships with relevant management agencies,  RLS strives to facilitate sustainable biodiversity management by providing managers with biodiversity information at spatial and temporal scales beyond those possible by scientific teams (which have to work with increasingly limited resources).

RLS involves only the most enthusiastic and capable amongst the recreational diving community, and provides thorough training and ongoing support for trained volunteers. Because RLS works directly with marine conservation managers, the data collected by RLS divers are directly contributing to management decisions - for example data have already contributed to MPA planning in South Australia and the zoning review for the Lord Howe Island Marine Park. They also formed the baseline for reef biodiversity in the recently declared Cod Grounds Commonwealth Marine Reserve (see, and form part of the ongoing monitoring of many Victorian and NSW marine reserves.

In addition to contributions to biodiversity management, RLS data are used in scientific analyses to tackle questions that require broad-scale standardised data - for example, to establish general principles associated with the effectiveness of MPAs (See the ‘Reports’ section of the RLS website for recent publications). Student projects and collaborative scientific studies are also supported, and continue to build as the RLS database expands.

Following the monumental survey expedition around northern Australia this year, the RLS database now contains species-level data on reef fishes, mobile invertebrates and photo-quadrats of coral and seaweed cover from over 2200 surveys across >1100 sites. This invaluable resource represents the first circum-Australian dataset of marine biodiversity data collected using standardised quantitative methods. These data are freely available to the public for non-profit purposes, so not only managers, but also dive operators, dive clubs  and schools may use these data to look at changes over time in their own local reefs (Please see attached map for distribution of RLS sites around Australia).

Given that an original goal of gathering a continental baseline of reef biodiversity data has been achieved, the priority of the program going forward over the next few years will be to undertake targeted re-surveys of existing priority areas for which we hope to establish long term datasets. It is hoped that approximately 20 locations can be established for long-term monitoring to contribute to reef conditions reports, with numerous sites at each.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

MELBOURNE: Undaria eradication at Apollo Bay and Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project

Photo courtesy of Mark Rodrigue
Our friends at Reef Watch in Victoria here are part of a wonderful brew of cooperative marine educators, managers, scientists and volunteers doing their part to raise awareness of the incredible and highly endemic south eastern coast of Australia. In their latest newsletter they've highlighted project for undaria eradication in Apollo Bay 

The Japapnese kelp,Undaria pinnatifida, is an invasive species that has entrenched itself in Port Phillip Bay and has now been discovered in down Victoria's west coast. The Department of Sustainability and Environment [DSE] have recorded this on their webpage here

Along with another treatment Reef Watch is calling for volunteer divers to hand pull plants on 6-7 and 13-14 Nov. If you can make it along to assist please email Luke as soon as possible at: 

Reef Watch is also listed as a sponsor for a delightful  reef art project on display at the Melbourne Museum (see below). 

Monday, October 18, 2010


The Kids Teaching Kids Conference is underway lighting up the Caloundra Events Centre. Conference organisers did a great job kicking things off with respectful acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land in Caloundra, the Gubbi Gubbi tribe. Then there were the antics of the Postal Pirates and some well known comedians.

Participating in the conference were schools from Tasmania all the way to the Torres Strait. Some words  that seemed to sum up the underlying philosophy of the conference were about sustainability education requiring head (learn), heart (care) and hands (act). And a terrific quote, "If you always do what you've always done then you'll always get what you've already got", Can't argue with that!

If your school hasn't yet pariticpated in one of these conferences I strongly suggest that you put it on your radar and plan to come to the next one. Wonderfully organised and just magic for the participating students.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

6th WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CONGRESS, Brisbane, Australia 19-23 July 2011

Invitation to attend

The Australian Association for Environmental Education invites you to join us in Brisbane for the 6th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC), to be held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre from 19–23 July 2011.

The United Nations has declared 2005-2014 the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The 2011 Congress provides an ideal opportunity to showcase how environmental educators are addressing pressing challenges such as climate change and educating young and old so that all are able to enjoy a sustainable future.

The 6th WEEC builds on a strong tradition of sharing the latest in environmental education theory, policy and practice. With an already strong base of environmental education participants, the 6th WEEC seeks to continue to share and build knowledge through a multi-disciplinary, multi-sector approach encompassing a diversity of disciplines and knowledges.

The Congress, titled Explore, Experience, Educate, invites participants to explore and experience the world of environmental education. Throughout the Congress, participants will explore and share new ways of thinking about environmental education, and experience new ways of doing environmental education. We aim to promote, through the Congress, the key role played by environmental education in developing and enriching individuals, communities and societies. In these ways, the 6th WEEC in Brisbane aims to provide a very high quality environmental education experience.

We invite you to join us on this journey of learning, sharing, collaborating and showcasing the best that the world has to offer our region and that Australia and the Asia-Pacific has to offer the world. 
Visit the website here
Jo-Anne Ferreira & Cam Mackenzie
Congress Co-Chairs 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

5th International Marine Debris Conference - 20-25 March 2011

Being visible to the human eye is irrelevant as ghost nets hunt deep in our oceans and gather by the ton on beaches around the world. The slurry of broken down plastics form mats mid ocean and threaten food chains.  The 5th International Marine Debris Conference is looking at Global lessons to inspire local action.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bringing the Ocean to the Classroom: Green Teacher call for contributions

AUSMEPA recently received a request from our good friend and Principal Advisor (Environmental Sustainability) Teaching and Learning Branch Dept Education & Training QLD to share the following with you:

Call for Contributions:  Bringing the Ocean to the Classroom 
Previous edition of Green Teacher
Green Teacher, the non-profit magazine for youth educators, is pleased to announce that its Spring 2011 issue will be a special theme issue on marine education, The issue will be guest edited by Rick Searle and Krista Zala of Ocean Networks Canada and distributed prior to World Oceans Day on June 8th.

If you would like to contribute an article, an innovative learning activity, or submit details of an educational resource, or your best marine education photograph, read on!

Why are we doing this special issue – and at 
this time?    
Environmental and marine educators know that we are intimately connected to the world’s oceans, even if we don’t live near a sea coast. For example, disasters like the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill affect many aspects of biological and economic life. Innovative educators have for years been bringing the ocean into their classrooms and non-formal education settings to help young people appreciate the links between their lives and the health of marine ecosystems.

Still, most young people – and their parents – are unfamiliar with the basics of ocean ecosystems and our connections to them. Accordingly, we see the need to devote an edition of Green Teacher to sharing innovative ideas, learning strategies, and activities for engaging people aged 6 to 19 in learning about and acting for the world’s oceans.

Three Ways You Can Contribute
For this special theme issue, we are seeking (1) articles and activities, (2) details of the latest and best marine education resources, and (3) the best marine ed photographs.

1.   If you would like to contribute an article or an activity, please email an outline of the article you would like to write to Krista Zala at no later than October 15. We are seeking:

·     1-3 short perspective articles for the front of Green Teacher that will motivate youth educators to promote ocean literacy.  (1000-2000 words per article)
·     innovative learning strategies and activities that work for some part of the 6- to 19–year-old age spectrum. (600-3500 words per article)
·     articles and activities that use new technology to teach ocean science or the social issues associated with human impacts on ocean ecosystems to some part of the 6- to 19–year-old age spectrum. (800-2500 words per article)

·         We’d love video clips, images, songs, or podcasts that can help round out the digital version of the Spring issue.

While we anticipate receiving more publishable submissions than we can include in the Spring edition, Green Teacher’s editor Tim Grant welcomes them and will include them in Green Teacher either by adding them to the online edition, weaving submissions with similar themes into a larger piece, or running articles in later issues.

The author of each article/activity selected for publication will receive 5 print copies, access details for the digital version, and a one-year subscription to Green Teacher.

2) Marine education resources for youth: swimming through the deluge. Please send a 50- to 100-word description of your favourite marine ed resource to Krista Zala at no later than November 30. Please tell us why it’s particularly useful to youth educators and include a website URL where more information can be found. Educators who submit marine ed resources that we select for publication in the Resource Listings for the Spring issue will receive a free copy of the issue.

3) Marine education photographs. Please send your best photos, ideally with young people taking action to improve the oceans, to Krista Zala no later than January 5th. Creators of photos selected for publication will receive either 5 print copies of the Spring issue OR a one-year subscription to Green Teacher, beginning with the Spring 2011 issue.

Thank you for considering our request.

Krista Zala and Rick Searle for Ocean Networks Canada & Tim Grant, Green Teacher

Download a free issue of Green Teacher   

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

AMAZING cuttlefish transformations - a good teacher resource

Talk about your Harry Potter invisibility cloaks, these camouflage experts are extraordinary. The ocean is replete with inner space wonders like this. Marine studies teachers help students make the link between keeping our  oceans healthy for these relatives of the seasnail and the intrinsic spin-off benefit for us --  ensuring our own survival. Teachers and students can marvel at more amazing cuttlefish clips here

Many thanks to our colleague Alex Gaut at the Coast and Marine branch of the Conservation Council of South Australia (CCSA) who directed us to have a look at the Amazing cuttlefish transformations page and for the CCSA's excellent community science/education projects like Reef Watch (to name just one).

Find out how to participate in marine community programs in South Australia here

TIME magazine on Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue and the quest to save the ocean

Sargassum --Shaul Swartz/Reportage by Getty for Time
"In her more than 50-year career in ocean science, Earle has studied the deep, dived it and written about it. Now she's trying to save the oceans, and she's focusing on one simple idea: protect them. Create true reserves — marine protected areas (MPAs) — on the high seas, sanctuaries for everything that swims, just as governments have created parks on land. About 12% of the planet's land surface is conserved in some way, but little more than 1% of the 139.5 million sq. mi. of the oceans have any protection whatsoever."

Read more: click here 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

International Jellyfish Art Contest

Marine Photobank
Visitors to the ocean know them for their stings, and in many parts of the world people eat them, but did you know that jellyfish are important ocean predators that can be bigger than a human, or as small as a pinhead, or that their numbers may be increasing across the globe?  
We met sea jelly expert Dr Rob Condon in Melbourne many years ago. He's asked  if any Aussie kids/schools would be interested in joining the Jellyfish Art Contest. Find out more here
 International Jellyfish Art Contest 
The Global Jellyfish Group invites your students and children age 12 and under to submit their best artwork of jellyfish to the first ever Jellyfish ROCK student art contest!  We already have involvement from many children in the USA, Bermuda, Spain and Chile but it would be great to have more entries - this is the first ever global jelly art contest!

Age Categories: Pre-school (Under 5); Age 5-8; Age 9-12 
  1. Visual art (drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, photography).
  2. Multimedia (computer art, animations, movies).
Submissions:  Please see website for details.  Depending on the region, either paper and/or electronic submissions will be collected.  Parents and teachers, please contact your regional representative.
The art should display any aspect of jellyfish, including jellyfish blooms, their biology, their effects on the environment or society, and their role in food webs. 
For more information see ‘Fun facts’ brochure for teachers and parents online. 
Jury and Notification: Submissions will be judged by a consortium of international jellyfish researchers and educators.  Artwork should be submitted via mail or email to your regional representative (see website for information) with the student’s name, age, school/country, contact details and title of artwork (optional). 
Contest Winners: Winning submissions will be displayed at the Jellyfish ROCK outreach event in Santa Barbara, CA, on 20 November 2010.  Prizes will be presented to the winning pieces in each age category & will be displayed at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History at that time.
DUE DATE: Entries must be received by 5 p.m. local time on November 1, 2010.  Winners will be announced November 12, 2010
Good luck & happy drawing!
The Global Jellyfish Group

Rob Condon, PhD
Research Scientist
Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL)
101 Bienville Blvd
Dauphin Island, AL 36528

Skype ID: mnemiopsis007
Phone: (251) 861-2141 x7546