Monday, September 22, 2014

Gubbi Gubbi welcome Queensland's Marine Teachers at MTAQ Conference 2014, Mooloolaba

The Marine Teachers Association of Queensland (MTAQ) annual conference was held in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast this year. Although a small conference it packed a lot of punch with some remarkable speakers, scientists, polar explorers, innovators and educators. 

The conference participants were treated to a Welcome Ceremony on Mooloolaba Beach by the Gubbi Gubbi who are the traditional owners locally. What a magnificent way to honour this beautiful place and it's history.

Later the dancers joined the participants for a few moments to share more insights into the history and tradition of the river and foreshore, encouraging respect of the natural cycles they have known over the centuries.

High Tide mangroves a winner in Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize 2014

Artist Carole King has delighted judges and marine educators alike with her winning portrayal of the Wynnum mangroves inundated at high tide.

Ms King has been painting Queensland habitats for the last 15 years.

"Having an international prize encourages artists worldwide to look at their country's ecosystems; to gain an understanding of how precious and vulnerable these special areas are," she said.

"The mangrove is in itself a layered and textural community. Whenever I go to the Wynnum Boardwalk, another layer is revealed so for me collage was the way to go."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Clever Buoy™ - best alternative for solving shark - human interaction dilemna?

Australian's and scientists around the world share a growing concern for both human safety and ocean health. Note the ABC article by Stephanie Daizell updated last Friday here advising that EPA Western Australia has advised against extending the state catch and kill shark policy and that the shark drum lines have been dumped. Here is an excerpt from the article:

   "Following a spate of fatal shark attacks in the state, in January the WA Government      introduced a 13-week trial where baited drum lines were set off Perth and South West beaches."
   "During the trial, which cost the Government $1.3 million, 68 sharks were caught and shot, although none of them were great white sharks."
   "The catch-and-kill policy was widely opposed with hundreds attending community rallies and international marine scientists calling for it to be scrapped"
If killing sharks is taken off the table then other innovations for human safety become a priority. In the US, New Zealand and Hawaii non-lethal shark control methods like signs and flags to education the public and use of tracking devices on sharks to determine migration patterns. Development of Electro magnetic deterrents, use of drones and biomimicry are others.
Awareness and support of the Clever Bouy technology is growing and Bondi will be one of the first beaches in Australia to trial the new shark detection system developed by Shark Mitigation Systems, Optus and Google. The creation uses sonar technology and a satellite to detect shark-sized marine life in the water while a sonar on the seabed will send out beams and capture information about animals in its path.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Farewell to Peter Andrew Biro

AUSMEPA marks the passing of a valued friend and colleague

Peter Andrew Biro
25-6-1951 – 01-9-2014

Although there were many tributes to Peter at a fitting ceremony for him on Monday 8 Sept 2014, a few are noted here.

I recall Peter as a tenacious teacher and educator, always willing to go the extra mile in supporting educators and students to know more about our precious marine environments and ways to conserve and protect them. In my role as President of MESA for many years Peter diligently presided over our website and it was only with his continued passion for the site that it is what it is today. Peter crafted every page, added every image and tirelessly maintained it. He will be remembered and the site is his legacy...Angela Colliver 

I remember Peter as a generous man that contributed to our shared goals in many ways through his commitment to marine and environmental education. While the rest of us were just starting our online journeys Peter was there at the front of the pack helping to position the MESA website as one of the leading sites for marine education resources in the world, all shared freely with any that visited. His contributions here and to supporting Seaweek over decades have helped bring the sea and its magic into thousands of peoples lives and we are all the richer for his efforts.....Mark Rodrigue

Peter was an amazing person, who had a huge passion for marine education and his commitment to the MESA website was unbelievable. He was also very discerning in his own quiet way. We also shared a love of football – he loved his Saints and he had a deep understanding of the game.  We kept in contact well after my MESA days and we’d chat about life in general and footy, of course. Unfortunately my phone calls weren’t as frequent in the past few years, although I was lucky to talk with him only a few months ago. He really loved his step-children and was doing everything he could do to care for them. Peter will always be an ‘Unsung Hero’ to me for Marine Education and life, in general. He has played a huge role in making a difference for our next generation. I will deeply miss our chats, we have all lost someone very special. Gentle, kind and clever he was an enigma to the end.” describes him perfectly....Tim Hoile

Some people are always just "there", a quiet guiding force, an unassuming innovator, a dedicated and selfless contributor and an integral  part of the story. Peter was such a person. I remember being in awe of Peter's technical mastery of all things internet (before it was even called that) and his tireless dedication to marine education. We are richer for knowing Peter - and if the oceans could speak, I am certain they would also be immensely appreciative of his efforts in working for them....Patrick O'Callaghan

Peter was my friend. Although a shy man, I could count on him to spend his time generously on the things that we both loved, helping kids and teachers understand the marine environment better. How many hours did he give to the Marine Education Society's website over all those years? I have no idea however the website gave Aussies a public face to show the world that we were determined o make a difference. Thanks for everything, Petey...Jody Plecas

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Give them some space

Dolphins are a much loved mammal. These are Pacific Whitesided Dolphins who were visiting the Georgia Strait just off Vancouver Island in Canada last July. 

Like everybody else dophins need some personal space in order to thrive. When you spot dolphins remember to stay at least 100 m away. They may come to you or they may not however being too close to dolphins can increase their risk of being injured. It also prevents them from performing normal and important behaviours such as feeding.