Our Board Director and Treasurer, Peter Faulkner, has decided to officially step down from the Board (although we're pleased to say he will be staying involved with Reef Check Australia on other levels).
We wanted to take this opportunity to recognise the amazing contribution Pete has made to the organisation over the many years of his involvement - and thought a quick Q&A with the man himself might be the best way!
How did you get involved with Reef Check Australia?
"I first got involved with RCA back in 2007, just after arriving in Australia. I had previously been involved with citizen science coral reef monitoring with Coral Cay Conservation (CCC, a UK group) on projects in Belize, Honduras, Indonesia, the Philippines and Fiji. We had done a little work using Reef Check protocols on some of those projects so I was familiar with the concept.
On arriving in Australia I contacted Jos Hill (RCA founder) who was also an ex-CCC volunteer and was quickly trained first as a surveyor and then trainer. When RCA moved Head Office from Townsville to Brisbane in 2011 I stood in as Acting-GM for about three months to facilitate the transition. I joined the Board soon after that and was Chair from 2011 to 2014 and acted again as Acting-GM briefly in 2018."
Can you tell us about one of your highlights with RCA?
"One highlight of my time with Reef Check Australia was the opportunity to do a couple of RCA trips out to Osprey Reef on the old Undersea Explorer. But without doubt the highlight for me has always been training keen new surveyors and passing on my knowledge about reef ID and the RCA methodology; it's often said that being RCA trained changes the way people dive and how they see diving...and I love being able to give that to people."
What does Reef Check Australia mean to you?
"I've been involved with citizen science on reefs for almost 30 years all over the world and I've seen the power that genuine engagement with impassioned volunteers and communities has to make change. Over the years with RCA I've met, worked with and trained many such people and we need to always remember why we're all doing what we do...for a better reef in the future. Individually and collectively we have the power to make change for the better and RCA continues to work hard to make that happen."
Pete and new Board member Mark
Thank you Pete for all your amazing efforts for Reef Check Australia. We hope you enjoyed meeting some of the new recruits at your last Board meeting and we look forward to sharing their stories with everyone soon!