Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - December 2021

December 01, 2021

Dear {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}} 

T'is the season to be jolly, and who doesn't want to be? With borders reopening (kinda) it means we can get together with loved ones and enjoy this festive season together. Our team will be taking a well earned short break over the Christmas/New Year period but will be back into all the activities we have lined up starting in mid January. Keep an eye out to see what events we have planned in the new year that you can be involved in. In the meantime our team wishes you, your family and loved ones an awesome festive season!

This months email includes:

  • Action of the Month: Presence not Presents
  • News from the Field
  • Brain Food
  • Current Coral Affairs
  • Get With the Program

Presence not Presents 

We often talk about giving experiences rather than gifts. This is because an experience and the joy it brings far outweighs any moments of joy created from stuff; regardless of what that 'stuff' is. This Action of the Month is about presence not presents.

But we also realise that some of you might still be looking for the ultimate experience to give someone... so just in case.. how about thinking about adopting a reef this celebration season? You might even like to visit your adopted reef for a truly unique experience!


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

Gold Coast Seaway

Written by Anna Fransson:

Fishing line and sinkers! That was the majority of our catch during a scuba dive clean-up of the Gold Coast Seaway on Saturday. Our group of volunteers picked up as much as we could during our hour dive, and got back up with frozen hands and high spirits. Knowing that we are protecting ocean life from getting tangled up in the fishing lines and hooks we collected, makes the work feel so important and meaningful. Whilst we removed over 100m of fishing line, the good news was that we only collected 2 pieces of soft plastics, hopefully an indication that the community is becoming more responsible with their waste disposal.

This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program.

Clean up with Suncoast Christian College

Early November we were delighted to be joined by a small but enthusiastic group of students from Suncoast Christian College for a quick clean up on Buddina Beach. Whilst the overall number of items found was not huge, they did find a large chunk of polystyrene, which as we all know breaks down into millions of tiny pieces. The students were all very aware of the importance of removing rubbish and the harmful effects it has on our marine life so they are all great ambassadors for our planet.

Great Barrier Reef

Sustainable House Day - Townsville

Written by Chris Hopper:
On 17th September the Reef Check GBR team hosted a stall at @Townsville City Council's Sustainable House Day in Rowes Bay, Townsville. Julia (RCA Surveyor) and Chris (RCA Ambassador) engaged with anyone interesting in learning about Reef Check Australia's activities in this area and how they can be more sustainable at home. Julia took the opportunity to set up a transect to allow kids visiting the stall to practise their reef health surveying skills with Reef Check Reef Search field kits. Check out the cutest photo of our youngest surveyor yet!

Chris had a great time talking to visitors on how to be part of the Reef Check Australia GBR chapter. This event was only foundations for future Townsville City Council sustainability events and Reef Check Australia are excited to continue to attend to spread the word of citizen science and empowering people to look after their local reef and oceans.

Thanks to our awesome Reef Check team and to Townsville City Council for holding and supporting sustainability and citizen science initiatives like ours in this region! #volunteertoprotect


Fitzroy Island Clean Up

As part of Tangaroa Blue’s Great Barrier Reef wide ReefClean project, a team from Reef Check Australia completed a beach and underwater cleanup at Fitzroy Island over the weekend. In the past we have targeted searching for marine debris under the public moorings to the north of the jetty, however this visit our search under the public moorings to the south proved more successful collecting 4.5kg of debris. We had a busy dive finding cans, bottles, snorkelling equipment, boat parts and clothing hangers that had fallen off visiting vessels. We also found a considerable amount of fishing line in this area that had been around for a while so it was rewarding for our team to remove this from the marine environment. During our beach cleanup the majority of the items we found were food and recreational items leftover from visitors. We counted only a few cigarette butts which was very pleasing!

The ReefClean project funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and a number of partner organisations including Reef Check Australia.

Mackay Marine Classroom

Reef Check Australia visited the Mackay region this month to assist not for profit, natural resource management group Reef Catchments with their second Marine Classroom aboard SV Whitehaven for students from Mackay North State High School. We delivered in-water snorkel safety and training followed by an introduction to reef health monitoring methods including Reef Check's ReefSearch, Coral Watch Bleaching Surveys and Eye on the Reef Rapid Monitoring. It's always so inspiring to meet young, engaged students interested in learning about and looking after the environment and we hope that we inspired you in turn to #volunteertoprotect

This Reef Catchments project received grant funding from the Australian Government through the Australian Heritage Grants Program. The charter vessel component of the Marine Classroom project is funded through the Queensland Government's Reef Assist Program and delivered by Reef Catchments and SV Whitehaven.

Check out what the students and scientists had to say in the video here!

Forrest Beach Cleanup

A few weekends ago a group of volunteers from the Forrest Beach, Hinchinbrook and Townsville regions collected almost 650kg of marine debris and illegally dumped items across over 11km of Forrest Beach. We had almost 20 attendees roll their sleeves up and collect 1659 items! This included 149 cigarette butts/filters, 75 plastic lids, 58 pieces of footwear (mostly single flip flops) and 675 pieces of hard plastic remnants. Larger items included parts of a fibreglass boat, abandoned white goods and even car parts! The smallest were a few pieces of microplastics after an @ausmap microplastic survey was conducted. All data has been logged with @reefclean @tangaroablue's Australian marine debris initiative database. Huge thankyou to our legendary group of volunteers, the fantastic @Forrest Beach Hotel for hosting our campers and providing a BBQ lunch for our crew and of course the team from @Hinchinbrook Shire Council who were instrumental in helping us put this together.

This project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program.


Brain Food

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

Below the edge of darkness by Edith Widder

A fascinating insight into the exploration of bioluminescence using deep sea submersibles and the challenges of observing mid water species in their natural environment.

Jellyfish A Natural History by Lisa-Ann Gershwin

Some of you may remember the amazing Coast to Corals talk on Jellyfish by Lisa- Ann. In this book she presents fifty unique species of jellyfish with stunning colour photographs and information on their anatomy, history, distribution, position in the water and environmental status.

Current Coral Affairs

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

So you thought all whales migrated south for summer? Check out this latest research on Southern Right Whales.

It's here! the annual coral spawning event is underway again. This is something definitely worth checking out if you are a keen diver.

Get with the Program

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

  • 31 December 2021: Thrive.

    This year, Reef Check Australia is once again the charity of choice for THRIVE festival, held on the Sunshine Coast. Its a beautiful festival full of goodness; from music, to art, to acrobatics and massage to reflective practice and connection. RCA strives to create connections with our natural marine environment, and THRIVE is all about creating human connections with self and each other, so the partnership is perfect!

    If you are interested in joining us this December 31 to bring in the new year, head on over to humanitix for your ticket!

  • 22 January 2022: Get your tickets here


Don't forget Coast to Corals is taking a short break. 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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