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Whether it’s media releases, catching up on our newsletters or finding out the latest news from the field, there’s plenty of information here for you!

Sunshine Coast Ambassador Activities!

August 21, 2018
Our Reef Ambassador team on the Sunshine Coast have been keeping busy during the past few weeks with some awesome events and activities.   The amazing Sara and Dee organised a sell out event with their trivia night, with over $1000 raised towards future reef surveys on the Sunshine Coast. They were greeted with many familiar faces and lots of new ones, showing that their hard work is  reaching the greater community with their efforts. Good Bar kindly hosted the event and helped relieve extra stresses! The event was great fun and a huge success, so thanks so much to Sara and Dee for all their hard work - it really paid off. Co-organiser Sara tells us  "We are confident that as new Reef Check Ambassadors we are making our mark on the Sunshine Coast and endeavour to go even bigger with future events". We couldn't agree more Sara! Huge thanks also go to the event supporters and sponsors, including Good Bar, The Dock, The Source Bulk Foods, Greenhouse Cafe, Elixiba, Greenout Cafe & Bar, Solbar and Yoga Vida. Without the support of these local legends, we wouldn’t have been able to present attendees  with some awesome prizes. Sara and Dee also took part in the University of the Sunshine Coast Orientation Day on 16th of July, where they shared the Reef Check stall alongside the environmental student group known as USCeco. Despite a little wind, they had a great time mingling with the new and returning students, including many international students that were very interested in learning about the beautiful local reefs found on the Sunshine Coast. Students in particular had a very keen interest in learning about our reefs and their conservation. Not only were the team able to share their knowledge, they also gained insights into the many initiatives taking place at the University of the Sunshine Coast to tackle single use plastic on campus and the plans to roll out solar panels throughout the site. We're sure this will be the first of many collaborations with the inspiring and motivating USCeco group. Way to go girls - you're setting the benchmark high on community involvement in your region!
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Thanks for an amazing 9 years!

August 13, 2018
I started with Reef Check Australia as a volunteer back in 2008. Never then would I have guessed that I would be leading this incredible organisation. It has been such an amazing journey. Now it's time for the next adventure and I am moving on to a new role.  Over the past nine years, we’ve expanded and worked with partners to grow an incredible subtropical reef monitoring program in South East Queensland, building a one-of-a-kind reef health data set across the region. We went West, working with local partners to build the foundation for a program for Ningaloo Reef and we’ve continued to collect globally-relevant data on the largest living structure on earth, the Great Barrier Reef. Our team has launched programs like REEFSearch to build new pathways for people to get involved in learning about and checking up on reefs. We worked together with dedicated ocean action agents and social research partners, to build the Reef Ambassador community outreach program.  Launching and growing this program to help support every day heroes has given me an overwhelming sense of hope by combining citizen science with action.  And we've helped do some great work for the reef, mapping inshore reefs of Moreton Bay for the first time in a decade, teaming up to tackle marine debris, looking at ways to apply Reef Check methods to reef restoration, exploring new data applications such as report cards, and collaborating on initiatives like the nomination of the Moreton Bay Hope Spot to highlight critical marine environments and the people who fight for them on a global stage. This almost decade-long has been made possible and downright enjoyable because of our dedicated team of staff, board and volunteers, who never cease to amaze me with their generosity, big brains and MacGyver skills. It has been a privilege to work alongside every one of them. Special thanks to Jody Kreuger, our volunteer dive officer and trainer, and the most amazing supporter I could ever ask to be with on this journey. For me, Reef Check is a powerful blend of science, education and community-based conservation. And it’s a time when we need this combination more than ever. We know we have a window to build reef resilience now and act on climate change to protect reefs for the future. And we know we need a movement of people who care to help make it happen. I’m thrilled about what’s to come for Reef Check. There are some excellent plans in the works that will be rolling out soon: We are in the final stages of a seriously epic new database, boosting how we manage and share data, as well as making it easier for our amazing volunteers to coordinate their involvement. Thank you Josh Passenger, database volunteer extraordinaire for this incredible gift.  We’ve recently been awarded funding to move all of our volunteer training online, boosting options for engagement and streamlining our Ambassador and Reef Surveyor training materials We are continuing to explore new ways to apply the Reef Check methods through habitat mapping, restoration applications, photo transects and new indicators Our Ambassador programs are taking off at an incredible pace. More than 80 trained outreach volunteers are doing inspirational work in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Townsville. Stay tuned - thanks to the dedication of these community leaders, the positive impact is only going to grow. So although my role may be changing, I am looking forward to contributing as part of the dedicated Science Committee working on some exciting papers, lending a hand with our superstar Brisbane Ambassador crew, and being a loud advocate for the important role of citizen science and community action in looking after the reef. Citizen science makes so much possible. Its growth is on the rise and its potential is unstoppable. Thank you for being part of the Reef Check network. Together, we can save our reefs and oceans. Best fishes Jenn
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Become a Virtual Diver

August 07, 2018
                Coming to a computer screen near you this August................VIRTUAL DIVING!                Reef Check Australia is part of an amazing new initiative to gather information on the Great Barrier Reef - and we need you to help. As reported by ABC news, and explained in more detail at this month's Brisbane Coast to Coral talk, brand new technology lets you become a virtual diver to help classify Reef images to contribute to coral cover models for the Great Barrier Reef. The Virtual Reef Diver project is a collaborative project developed by a team of scientists and researchers. Reef Check Australia provided historic photos to the project, our trained surveyors evaluated the technology with a series of "test runs" and our team provided feedback on the citizen science training elements required. We are proud to be a part of this innovative new project, with phase one running until 31 August. During this time, participants can view contributed images taken on the Reef and identify and classify the coral cover they see there. You'll be helping scientists to gather valuable data on the Great Barrier Reef, and getting a tour of the underwater environment from your own couch (or wherever you like!) at the same time. Phase 2 of the project will allow divers and snorkelers to submit their own underwater images for classification - so start digging out those pics! We're so excited about this project, we're making it our Action of the Month for August. So hop on board the citizen science train today!    
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Reef Ambassadors at Quandamooka Festival

August 01, 2018
  Our Brisbane Reef Ambassadors were thrilled to join the Quandamooka Festival's annual Welcome the Whales event to celebrate the arrival of 'yalingbila' (humpback whales) on their northward migration.   Visitors to the festival had the chance to chat with some of the Ambassador team and choose a pledge for the ocean. Thanks to all those local heroes who made their commitment to help protect our reefs and oceans! The Ambassadors also led a beach clean up on the day to help look after this very special place.     Our Moreton Bay Reef Ambassadors program is proudly supported by the Port of Brisbane.    
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Overboard and Underwater!

July 24, 2018
On 5th June, some  of our awesome Brisbane Reef Ambassadors hopped on board the MV Inspiration, to learn more about the effects of micro-plastics on the ocean, and plankton life-cycles for World Environment Day.   The Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre provides authentic education programmes from preparatory level to Year 12, allowing students, teachers and the community to develop relationships with the local area through immersion in natural, heritage and cultural education. They educate students about the environment from plankton in the oceans to koalas in the trees and everything in-between. They are currently running a project named Overboard and Underwater, which educates students about the dangers and ramifications of micro-plastics by examining the plankton life-cycle and explaining how even the smallest creatures in the ocean are affected by humans.   Robin Pickett and Jennah Williams were invited along for the day to take part and enjoy this fantastic learning opportunity. The voyage commenced with a safety briefing, an introduction to the program and the schedule for the day, before the team set off across Moreton Bay in the direction of St Helena Island.  En-route, Robin, Jennah and their travelling companions were told that over 8 billion tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year, causing the deaths of tens of thousands of marine animals who ingest, become entangled in or are poisoned by this plastic.  Next on the agenda was a video on plankton, told from the viewpoint of a red snapper and highlighting huge diversity of micro-organisms there are! In fact in a single teaspoon you can have 1 million living creatures comprising of phyto- and zoo plankton.     Following the video it was time to get hands on. The plankton trawl net was lowered and drifted behind us for 5 minutes before being hauled in with help from eager participants, including Jennah!   Contents were concentrated in a collection tube and poured into a glass jar, then pipettes were used to make dot samples for viewing under the microscope. Images were projected onto a screen and ID charts were provided to identify these amazing critters!   While enjoying some locally sourced nibbles, the Ambassadors chatted to some of the teachers on board about marine education in schools. Robin and Jennah were pleased to hear that many teachers were fully engaged in pledging to reduce their plastic waste! A plastic trivia game on the way home (with eco-friendly prizes including re-usable straws, cotton and beeswax bags and bamboo toothbrushes on offer) offered some final inspiration for teachers to go over what they had learnt and would take back to teach their students. Robin and Jennah reported back that "the programme proved to be a fantastic and very informative day. The work that the Moreton Bay Environmental Centre is doing is vital to the protection and understanding of our oceans for the future generations. The time to take action on plastic waste is now!" Huge thanks go to the Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre for letting our Ambassadors come along and for all the great work they do. Check out some more of the day's action below!     
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Biome Plastic Free Goodies Giveaway!

July 24, 2018
  Have you got on board with Plastic Free July? Are you working to improve your environmental impact by reducing your single use plastic? GO YOU! Reef Check Australia and our wonderful friends at Biome want to make it even easier for you to ditch single use plastic, so we've teamed up for a great giveaway.   To support Plastic Free July and help you keep your plastic free pledge up for the long haul, Biome have donated 3 single use plastic free hampers for Reef Check to offer our awesome supporters. Each pack contains a reusable water bottle, straw, food wraps, coffee cup, shopping bag and produce bags - to make it easier than ever to be single use plastic free! To be in with a chance of winning one of these packs, all you need to do is donate $25 or more to Reef Check Australia by the end of August.Winners will be selected at random from those who have donated. And no, donating more won't increase your chance of winning -  but it will increase our ability to help protect our reefs and oceans!  Although this promotion is open to Queensland residents only, we hope it won't stop any of you non-Queenslanders from supporting our work! And of course you can all download our free Plastics Ocean Action Kit to help you in your environmental pledges. Let's give single use plastic the flick!
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