We know that getting involved in conservation and education efforts can seem daunting. So we thought a "Getting to Know our Volunteers" segment might help inspire peeps while answering some of the FAQ's on what it takes to be active for our reefs and oceans!
We're kicking this segment off with our Reef Ambassador extraordinaire, Shayan Barmand!
Why did you join RCA?
I first read about RCA while looking for volunteer groups that protect the Great Barrier Reef and conduct dive surveys looking at the extent of bleaching. I studied climate change and global change science, which emphasised the role of the oceans in supporting the stable functioning of the planet. So when I moved to the Sunshine Coast I started learning a lot more about the GBR and tropical marine ecosystems in general as a critical life support system for marine biodiversity. As major bleaching events were underway, I looked for ways to get involved in its protection. Once I met Jodi Salmond and saw firsthand the awesome work that RCA does on the ground, I knew I wanted to volunteer and help out in whatever way I could.
What has made you stick with us?!
I have volunteered and continue to volunteer with a number of other conservation and sustainability-focused non-profits. The reason I dedicate most of my time to RCA is because it stands out in how it manages volunteers, the projects it runs, and most importantly, because it focuses on scientific research as well as community education, and bridging the gap between the two. Its citizen science program is evidence-based, educational, engaging and actions-focused; and its ambassador/surveyor trainings are comprehensive, and the methodology stands up to scientific scrutiny so you know that the data can have a real impact. It allows ordinary citizens to get involved in a task that is much bigger than themselves and goes to the heart of ensuring a safe and healthy planet for future generations.
What does RCA mean to you?
RCA is a perfect example of a bottom-up project that accelerates local progress in reconnecting humanity with the biosphere, which is absolutely essential for addressing the combined environmental/social challenges we face and leading human society into the necessary evolution of living in harmony with nature. On a personal level, it allows me to combine what I love (educating and engaging all sectors of society to take action that is evidence-based and solutions-focused), with what I am most passionate about (bringing humanity into harmony with nature by mitigating climate change and further biodiversity loss).
Shayan is one of the volunteer organisers who keep Reef Check Australia's Sunshine Coast Coast to Coral talk series running smoothly! If he has inspired you to find out more, check out our "Get Involved" page to see how you can help!