Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - March 2022

March 01, 2022

Dear {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}} 

The summer weather is playing havoc with activities in SEQ, fortunately the GBR is fairing better. We have been constantly scheduling and rescheduling our in-water activities due to wind, swell and now copious amounts of rain. Our waterways, bays and oceans are going to be severely affected and we are interested to see what impacts it has had on our marine life (once it is safe to get out there). Meanwhile our thoughts go out to the people whose homes and businesses have been affected by this phenomenal weather event we have just experienced. We urge everyone to lend a hand to those in need.

This months email includes:

  • Action of the Month: Lend a hand this March
  • News from the Field
  • Brain Food
  • Current Coral Affairs
  • Get With the Program

Lend a hand this March! 

Whilst North Qld stays dry at this point in time, South East QLD has been smashed with flash flooding and riverine flooding. This month is full of feel good look after the planet activities planned, and whilst we start to plan our Clean Up Australia Day event along with the rest of Australia for this weekend, we thought that maybe its a great chance to reach out to those around you and lend a hand.

Reach out to the beach; so much debris has been washed downstream and onto our beaches. Reach out to your local park, playground or nature reserve; many areas will need a hand clearing such communal areas. And reach out to your neighbours. With so many people spending the next days, weeks and maybe months cleaning up their homes, yards and businesses let's not wait for clean up Australia day, and instead get started early.

And for those of you with the capacity to do so; lock in a couple of extra dates this month. March for Earth (all month) and Earth Hour; March 26th. Let's focus this month on lending a hand to those around us; the people and the planet. And if you need a hand; please, reach out. We are here to support you.

News from the field

Stories and updates from our teams out & about. Check out some of these regional stories on our website!

South East Queensland

Clean Up for the Hatchlings continues..

Clean up for the hatchlings took a deconstructed approach this year, heading back to our roots from when we first kicked off this event 8 years ago, yep 2014.

The spicy cough meant smaller teams of people were encouraged to clean up their local patch, and whilst one team of volunteers hit the water to clean up Mooloolah river, other teams chose local beaches to remove debris, and document their findings.

This year, assisted with rough seas and big storms, there were millions of tiny pieces of hard plastic washing up. With four people, in an hour and a half, we picked up 14.5kg; not including the chairs, geotextiles or chunks of wood (add another 15kg for all of that!) That might not seem like much, but of this, over 430 pieces of small plastic were removed. And as we walked back to where we started, there was more washing up again.

Items included; t shirts, one rubber thong, heaps of cigarette butts (IN THE WASHED UP SEAGRASS!!), two single-use masks, cans, plastic water bottles and so many lollipop sticks. Heaps of pieces of foam, and some weird hard plastic elements.. see pic for details. Also, the highest number of small pieces of twine and/or plastic rope.

As we celebrate the hatching of our turtle hatchlings along the sunshine coast, in a format a little different than our usual large event, it acts as a nice reminder that you can make a difference every single day. If we all picked up just a few pieces every time we went to the beach... How much cleaner might it be???


MBMP Habitat Restoration Event

ESRAG [Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group] invited Reef Check to be a part of MBMP Habitat restoration event. [6th Feb 2022 at low tide] This event was attended by UQ MS , TMBF, OzFish , HL & W, REF, RC and others to interact with the rich natural environment at this location in Scarborough. Prof Ian Tibbetts took tours of the rich environment at low tide, Josh Wilson PhD student demonstrated Drone technology for research into migratory birds and the Eastern Asian Flyway. Jack Hill took groups of tour about the mangroves, and all highlighted the rich habitat there is at this location. This included OzFish and the potential for Oyster reef restoration at this site. BBQ breakfast lead the way for nourishment, and everybody gained extensively from the experience of the tour guides. There was a lot of interaction and a busy morning was had by all.

By Colin Scobie, RCA Ambassador

Ocean Youth

We were pleased to once again be part of the Sealife Ocean Youth program this year. The constant rain meant our favourite place to visit (the rock pools) was out but we do have an amazing backup option - Sealife Mooloolaba!. We explored the touch tank and the critters that live there, visited the coral tank and the jellyfish tanks and got a behind the scenes look at the turtle "rehabilitation" area and the baby jellyfish. These young people are the future of marine conservation and we are always excited to share our knowledge and inform them of ways to become involved in marine science.

Great Barrier Reef

GBR Team kicks off the 2022 survey season

Reef Check Australia's Great Barrier Reef team kicked off the 2022 survey season recently with a trip out to Middle Reef and Florence Bay at Magnetic Island to conduct reef health surveys. We didn't realise until after the trip that our team of divers were all female and due to last-minute changes it just so happened to occur on Friday 11th February which is International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022! How serendipitous! In addition, we were treated to a beautiful and sunny day at the fringing reefs on our doorstep collecting lots of invaluable data on the state of our local reef ecosystem!

This survey was made possible by a team of dedicated volunteers, support from Affordable Charters, and the Townsville City Council through their Creek to Coral program.


Brain Food

Reviews and details on books, documentaries, and podcasts that we have come across, & wanted to share.

Ocean: A visual odyssey by Dr Sylvia Earle

"This comprehensive reference explains the fundamental science of the ocean--from plate tectonics to seawater makeup, including a fascinating illustrated guide to marine life, from sponges, kelp, and zooplankton to whales, sharks, and sea turtles. More than 100 maps and diagrams, including seafloor and political maps of all Earth's seas and oceans, elucidate Dr. Earle's authoritative text."


Current Coral Affairs

Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean and waste reduction innovations:

Sculpted Sea Slugs

Many of our team have a fascination with sea slugs which are often very tiny. A very talented man, Gar Waterman has taken to making large stone sculptures. Read more about Gar and his work in DAN magazine .

Rare Baby Ghost Shark

Photo by Brit Finucci

New Zealand scientists have discovered this really cool baby ghost shark. Read more about it in BBC news.

Get with the Program

Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates. 

Sunday March 13 | Moreton Bay Kids Fest

Bring the kids along and say Hi to our team. This is a great day with lots of activities for the kids. Follow this link for more information. 


Reduce your carbon footprint in March 2022, while raising funds for environmental organisations (think Reef Check Australia). March 4 Earth is working to connect and empower Aussies to live more sustainably and support climate action. Find out how you can get involved by checking out their website.  

Sunday March 20 | Sundays with Your Mates

Our friends at Your Mates Brewery are running Sundays with Your Mates. Come along for some great food (who doesn't love a chicken snitty), tasty beverages, awesome local tunes and pick up a raffle ticket to win some great prizes and support Reef Check.

Saturday March 26 | Earth Hour

Switch off and #ShapeOurFuture this Earth Hour at 8.30 pm local time, Saturday 26 March.

Earth hours in on again, March 26th 2022, and this year, people are being called on from all nations to sign up and join a worldwide community of millions supporting stronger action on climate change.

Everyone has the power to Shape Our Future this Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a global movement that turns individuals, schools, businesses and communities into a millions-strong movement. And it’s never been more critical to come together to protect our world than at this moment.

Climate change is causing biodiversity loss at a frightening scale, threatening the health of some of our most important and iconic ecosystems, like the Great Barrier Reef. We cannot ignore the impacts of climate change and species loss any longer.

Sign up, switch off and spread the word - you have the power to Shape Our Future this Earth Hour. Oh... and you might just win a trip to the Great Barrier Reef for your efforts!

How will you celebrate your earth hour?


If you missed any of our Coast to Coral online events, remember you can always catch-up by taking a look at our YouTube Channel here  


Thanks for reading! If you want to help our work to empower more people to protect Australian reefs, please consider making a monthly tax-deductible donation. 



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