Sunday, December 13, 2015

TEACHERS: Oil spill interactive site from ITOPF for students

Here is the link for an unusual site that gives information about oil spills and provides facts and quizzes what has been learned.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

TEACHERS: Food for thought

Can we change from being a 'throw-away' society?

This clip is talking about our extensive use of disposable plastic cutlery and the environmental effect from the time it takes the earth to make petrochemicals to the making of a spoon and our one use of it.

What are the impacts of making a metal spoon? Mining, milling and production bring us the spoon however we reuse it avoiding waste.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION: 4th International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World, 3rd-6th May 2016, Hobart TASMANIA

This Symposium is a gathering of the world’s leading experts in a rapidly developing frontier of research dealing with the science of ocean acidification.

This is the first time the Symposium will be held in the Southern Hemisphere and will highlight the importance of ocean acidification for the region. The symposia typically attract over 500 participants and are prime networking events, bringing together researchers, students, and government and industry representatives.

Abstracts are due by 4 November and can be submitted via the online presentation portal.

Symposium Themes

We particularly encourage submissions that are designed to make progress and stimulate critical thinking and debate in any of the conference theme sessions listed below.
A detailed description for each theme area can be found on thewebsite.
  • Organism responses to Ocean Acidification
  • Ecological effects of Ocean Acidification
  • Changing carbonate chemistry of the Ocean
  • Advances in Ocean Acidification research and monitoring
  • Ocean Acidification and society – economics and food security
  • Mitigation of Ocean Acidification
  • Ocean Acidification and the increasingly crowded ocean – global change multistressors

Open Workshops

A series of workshops that will amplify some of main themes of the Oceans in a High CO2 World Symposium will take place prior to or after the main meeting.
These less formal workshops will comprise oral presentations, discussion sessions and in some cases hands-on practical sessions.

Visit the website for workshop overviews:
  • Coral reefs in a high CO2 world – Heron Island
    27-30 April 2016
  • xFOCE systems: present status and future developments workshop
    28-29 April 2016
  • Chemical, biological, and statistical considerations for ocean acidification experiments
    28 and 29 April (Thursday and Friday) and 2 May (Monday)
  • Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) Workshop
    8-10 May 2016
  • The fate of “Sea Butterfly” in the high CO2 world: finalising the role of pteropod as bio-indicators of ocean acidification
    9-10 May 2016
  • Multiple stressors and marine biota
    9-11 May 2016

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Kids Investigating Sea Solutions (KISS)

Kids Investigating Sea Solutions

If you want to discover some of the amazing things about the sea, what makes it wonderful, how you can contribute to keeping it safe for the plants, animals and organisms that live there, you may want to watch these pages for news, art and information.

Here are some of the KISS craft ideas that teachers loved at the teachers resource exhibition in Brisbane.

BOOK: Global warming and climate change: what Australia knew and buried - then framed a new reality for the public

Here is a book that may be of special interest to those who have followed the climate change and green house story over the last 25yrs.  For high school teachers it represents a wealth of information for framing a debate.

Guide to the Sea Snakes of the Kimberley Coast of Western Australia

Ruchira Somaweera · Kate Sanders

This guide illustrates all know species and also summarises information on their biology and conservation. Some of these species even occur in Perth waters, mostly as vagrants.

Printed copies are available through the Department of Parks and Wildlife

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fresh-water algae for “organic” food ingredient production in cities

Algae farming for food ingredients is coming to cities. It is an important part of future urban aquaponics.  

Qponics Limited directors are now planning to hold a breakfast lecture meeting soon at the Brisbane Technology Park Conference Centre to further outline a joint venture now planned for fresh-water algae for “organic” food ingredient production in Brisbane, Australia, and in the United Kingdom. 

The latest news release (click here) outlines what Dr Graeme Barnett, CEO and Managing Director of  Qponics Limited, will be talking about – fresh-water, urban algae farming for vegetarian-quality omega-3 oils and proteins grown from clean organic wastes and from clean carbon dioxide wastes.

So, next year Brisbane warehouses close to suppliers of waste organic matter and waste carbon dioxide, will start to have algae production plants.

For more information visit

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Irukandji Jellyfish

World's deadliest fishing - Irukandji Jellyfish

The Nature of Science

Monday, July 27, 2015

50 Shades of Nudibranch by Earth Touch

Those readers who love nature will find Earth Touch a great place to visit online at
and they even have a Wild Oceans section with interesting collections like this one.

Well done, Earth Touch and Wild Oceans.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

SEA TURTLE; art & craft project

Sea turtles start out by hatching from eggs under the sand of a beach. They risk their lives as they race to get to the sea. They spend years at sea and when a female is old enough she returns close to where she was born to lay her own eggs.
In this activity we will make a mother turtle.

What you need:
·        Card or manila folder
·        Scissors
·        Glue
·        Texta, black and green
·        Photocopy templates to use as guides
·        Optional, use of onion skin to create shell pattern
What to do:
·        Using the illustrations as a guide cut an egg shaped piece of card or manila folder

·        Using the cut out as a guide draw the turtle head, body, tail and flippers

·        Colour the scaly skin using a green texta

·        Colour in two eyes with a black texta or paint

·        Cut out pieces of card or onion skin and decorate the top of the shell

·        Cut out the pieces of card to create the breast plate on the underside of the shell

·        Put the head, flippers and tail template between the upper shell and the breast plate

     ·        Secure with glue

 You can see AUSMEPA art activities on their new Kids Investigating Sea Solutions webpage here

AUSMEPA making a difference in the USA

Working to make a difference sometimes feels like calling out in the dark. Is anyone listening? Then you recieve a communication like this...

Hi there, I wanted to send you a 'thank you' for your webpage ( I am a mentor for a group of students at an after school program, and I've recently been teaching them about marine and how all species are affected when we don't take care of our planet. I just wanted to let you know that your information on ocean conservation has been a big help!

One of my students (Andrea) took a lot of this information to heart and brought in an article to teach the class about ocean pollution. I think it would also be helpful to your visitors as well! "Clean Our Oceans: The Impact of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch" -

Would you mind including the article on your page for me? I thought that it would fit in well with your information, and she would be proud to see that she is able to help make a difference in the world. Let me know if you get the chance to update - and thanks again for the great website!

Have a great day,

Thanks, Joan for your support and right back atcha. The web link you provided has lots more information of interest to teachers and students.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Seagrass Blue Carbon Blues

Seagrasses are a vitally important component of healthy coastal waters. They've been described as the 'canaries' of the sea and revered as indicators of healthy or unhealthy systems. Students may find this clip, from the Intergation and Application Network, a different way to take in some special information about why we need to keep an eye on them. Perhaps it might inspire some students to try their own hand at creating a marine story in song?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Climbing Perch Stepping Across the Torres Strait

This amazing little fish from Papua New Guinea is causing some concern in Far North Queensland.

"Researchers and rangers are monitoring the climbing perch, which has already overrun waterways on two Queensland islands in the Torres Strait," ABC news said today. Read more here


This excellent exhibition is for teachers. We'd love to see you there!

Injured Black Swan released after removing fishing hooks and line

Learn more about this story on the Kids Investigating Sea Solutions pages here

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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

AUSMEPA's new marine art and craft pages

Welcome to AUSMEPA's marine art pages HERE

Art is a way to express ideas in a different language. It is most successful when it can be understood by the many rather than the few. However, the art and craft at AUSMEPA is designed to encourage the expression about and to serve as a demonstration of learning about things in the ocean. And it is fun.

The materials suggested in the activities reflect lateral thinking, as art so often does. 

The limiting factors are what you have at hand, what can be sourced easily and economically as well as thinking outside the box.

These activities may provide a good partner to science or sustainability units of work in the classroom. Or they can stand alone. 

The activities are not rated for age as almost all can be adjusted up or down to suit.

We would love to hear about what you've created after looking at these projects and any comments you have that might make the experience richer for others. Send them to

What is a gyre?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

World Environment Day Awards - 5 June

Each year, in support of United Nations World Environment Day (5 June), the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) recognises innovative and outstanding environmental initiatives and projects from across Australia through the World Environment Day Awards. 

The Awards invite nominations from individuals, organisations and businesses that have taken positive steps towards sustainability and demonstrated environmental excellence in their homes, schools, communities and workplaces. 

Nominations close 17th April.

See more at

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Farewell Shorebirds 21 March o 19th April 2015

Are you up for the challenge?

Right now over 5 million shorebirds are migrating from Australia to breed in the Arctic – for some that’s the equivalent of doing 309 consecutive marathons with only one or two drink stops along the way. And what’s more, once they have nested and raised their young, they turn around and do it all again.

From 21 March – 19 AprilBirdLife Australia will be celebrating its annual migratory shorebird event, Farewell Shorebirds. 

They are challenging people from around Australia to head outdoors to help them reach a national target—a fraction of the distance travelled by a single shorebird over its lifetime. Do we as a nation have what it takes to walk, jog, cycle or swim as far as these incredible birds?

Highlighting the captivating story of the shorebirds’ annual global migration, Farewell Shorebirds explores why the birds make this remarkable journey and how they rely on Australia’s wetlands, coastlines and estuaries for their survival.

To be a part of this exciting event head to the website, log your distance travelled each day, help reach the national target and go into the draw to win some incredible prizes.

BirdLife Australia
Suite 2-05, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton VIC 3053T 03 9347 0757 | F 03 9347 9323 |

Thursday, February 19, 2015

AUSMEPA; what teachers should know!

To ensure that teachers understand what AUSMEPA has to offer in the way of free, and copyright free, educational resources here is a short video to help you.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Looking for Signs – What’s Left Behind?

Rhondda Alexander Marine Grant 2014

On 2 December 2014, thirty students from three schools - St Joseph’s Primary School Black Rock, Beaumaris Primary School and Stella Maris Primary School Beaumaris  - participated in a whole day excursion at Rickett’s Point Marine Sanctuary facilitated by EcoCentre teacher Andrea Eales.

The students learned to identify indigenous sea birds, explored an Aboriginal shell midden with Dean Stewart from the Boon Wurrung Foundation, and collaborated to conduct mollusc and marine plastics surveys. The students also created an alphabet of Port Phillip Bay marine life, and interviewed 18-year-old naturalist Gio Fitzpatrick, the EcoCentre Youth Wildlife Ambassador.

The students then visited each others’ schools to edit film clips about their experience, the survey procedures, and tips they wanted to share with other schools. They also action-planned how they will share and promote what they learned. For many students, this was their first experience seeing another school campus, and the participants enjoyed collaborating.

Shell survey sheets submitted to the Baykeeper
Rockpool Ramble & Foreshore Shell Surveys

Students worked in four groups to conduct Baykeeper shell surveys and record their findings including measurements, descriptions and photos of shells. 

This data contributes to ongoing research comparing climate data to the size and distribution of molluscs.

We found a shark egg! They are camouflaged like seaweed for safety.

I liked finding the crab in the rock pools.                

Tideline Microplastic Nurdle Surveys

Students used various methods to search for nurdles, pre-production plastic pellets, in the organic material along the high tide line in one square metre quadrats. 

The students found fewer than ten nurdles, an excellent result (particularly when compared to neighbouring beaches where thousands can be collected in 15 minutes). 

The students hypothesised why the numbers might be low, for example tide patterns or the shape of the coast “protecting” one spot from nurdles. 

They also compared the quantity of post-consumer litter and considered prevention strategies.

Whenever I’m down at the beach [in future],  I will try to find nurdles.

How many nurdles are there [everywhere]?

Aboriginal Culture
The students visited an Aboriginal shell midden and compared modern packaging to the footprint of the First Peoples. After a smoke ceremony to cleanse and welcome the boys and girls to Country, Dean Stewart shared the geographic history of Port Phillip Bay and the customs of Boon Wurrung culture, particularly the journeys of young people the same age as the students -- and their observational skills for knowing Country.

In addition to a reflective group discussion at the beach, students were asked to write personal reflections. They were especially curious about gastropods in the rockpools, and passionate about nurdles. The group said the Aboriginal cultural stories will stick with them “because the Boon Wurrung were real people who were really here.” 
The students had a number of fantastic questions for further investigation.

Some of the student reflections included:

Today I loved…
I loved the shell surveys in the rock pools because it reminds me of Grandpa.
I loved being outdoors and working with everyone.
I loved learning about microplastics.
Making a movie about shells with my friends.
I loved the fire because it smelt nice.
 Loved hearing about Aboriginal history and traditions.
I loved finding nurdles!
Finding an egg mass of gastropods and giving it a chance at life.

I learned…
I will know for a long time not to pick up alive crabs out of the water.
What will stick with me is that Rickett’s Point used to have Aboriginal homes and a very good emu hunting place.
The names of different shells.

I wonder…
I wonder if other people realise what happens when littering.
My wondering is why people don’t pick up rubbish when they see it?
I would like to find out more about gastropods.
What other things didn’t Dean have time to tell us?!
How do animals find nutrition in rock pools?
I wonder what other beaches used to be.
Why are moon snail egg masses shaped like a horse shoe?
I wonder why we didn’t find more nurdles.

Conclusion and Future Directions

While the coordination time of any multi-school project is tricky, the resulting program was a great success that demonstrated learning outcomes, and connected students to their local coastline and community. The students were enthusiastic collaborators and shared their new knowledge and passion during the follow-up filmmaking workshops. Students stepped up as ambassadors for their school, their community, and their local marine habitat while connecting to the longstanding cultural history of the Boon Wurrung. The EcoCentre and all three schools look forward to potential partnership with AusMEPA for future collaborations in marine education.