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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!

Free Documentary Screening - BLUE - Get The Lowdown!

August 10, 2019
  Reef Check Australia was proud to be part of the Plastic Free July initiative for 2019 by hosting a free movie screening of the critically acclaimed documentary “Blue” in the EPSON Lumen Room at Metro Arts in Brisbane.         The documentary highlighted how significant of an impact single use plastic has on the world we live in. Single use plastic is one of the most pressing issues facing our marine environments today. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. There’s over 11 BILLION pieces of plastic debris on coral reefs in the Asia-Pacific region alone. It has devastating effects on our environment, wildlife and even our food chain!       This movie was perfect for Plastic Free July. Whilst highlighting the shocking effects single use plastic has on life as we know it, it also shared the important message that it is not too late to make positive changes for healthier oceans and wildlife. Every one of us can make a difference. Whether it's choosing to say no to single use plastic, deciding to replace, reuse or recycle, or simply picking up rubbish or debris next time we go for a walk at the park or beach.       A special mention to the lovely team at The Source Bulk Foods Store at Bulimba for donating the corn kernels that were popped fresh on the day for the audience to munch on! Pat and her daughter Abby own this beautiful store that has an array of foods and ingredients that you can purchase all SINGLE USE PLASTIC FREE! This event was proudly supported by Queensland Government Community Sustainability Action Grant.
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RCA and International Women's Dive Day!

July 24, 2019
  Some of the RCA dive team headed out to Cook Island to celebrate International Women's Dive Day, which aims "to get more people actively diving and to create more stewards for the ocean".         One of our volunteer Scuba Surveyors, Devin Rowell, gave us the lowdown on the day:- "I feel very lucky to have spent International Women’s Dive Day celebrating with fellow Reef Checkers and female divers on some awesome dives around Cook Island. On the boat ride out to the dive sites we had dolphins swimming alongside us and whales breaching in the distance on their migration. Tweed Sea Sports dropped us on two dive sites containing every diver’s dream - sharks, turtles, underwater whale songs, and some thriving rocky coral reefs. The Reef Check surveyors set up a new site that will be monitored at Cook Island and contribute to the monitoring of Australia’s southerly reefs. At the end of such a great day, I came away feeling empowered from spending it with such inspiring women who not only enjoy spending time in the water but who also volunteer their time to help preserve these amazing places for generations to come!"     Thanks Devin for sharing your experience. Also thanks to Gold Coast City Council for supporting our work in this region and to Tweed Sea Sports for getting us out there! 
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RCA Get Active in the Gold Coast Region!

July 02, 2019
  We've been picking up our Gold Coast educational activities recently with the launch of our Coast to Coral talk series there. Thanks to everyone who came along to our second Gold Coast C2C talk to hear the wonderful Dr. Olaf Meynecke talk passionately about his research on humpback whale migration, human impacts and also how to get involved in his citizen science project.  Thank you to Greenhouse Canteen + Bar Coolangatta for hosting this event.     But our team out in the field aren't to be outdone! Reef Check Australia was delighted to be invited to the Silkwood School’s Youth Ambassadors Conservation Event on South Stradbroke Island on 19th June, along with Gold Coast Seagrass, the Gold Coast Catchment Association and the Panamuna Project. The day saw everyone working alongside the Jacob’s Well Environmental Education Centre to undertake a marine debris audit on the northern side of the island. It was a beautiful day to be outside, and wonderful to see so many young people empowered to take care of our amazing marine environment.     And to round off a busy month, the team recently joined Beach Care and Dune Watch at Tugan Beach to participate in planting native dune species, aiming to rejuvenate surrounding sand dunes.  Gold Coast City Council leave sections of dune areas for the community to join in and get planting, clearing and weeding their local beaches. This important work aids in reducing beach erosion and helps sustain native flora and fauna.  The team at Beach Care regularly conduct beach care and clean up days with all members of the community welcome. Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for upcoming events.  This initiative is proudly supported by Gold Coast City Council, Griffith Centre for Coastal Management and RCA.    Thank you to the City of Gold Coast Council for supporting our work in this region.  
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World Ocean's Day Clean Up!

June 26, 2019
  This month, some of the awesome RCA Brisbane team ran a clean up at Amity Point for World Ocean's Day. They were pleasantly surprised to see the park and beach areas were already really clean.       The underwater team concentrated their work in and around the boat ramp, which is a popular spot for fishing, and collected 3kgs of marine debris. Unsurprisingly, the rubbish collected was largely fishing line, lures and sinkers.     Thanks to the Sylvia Earle Alliance & the Queensland Government Citizen Science Grant for supporting our work in this region.  
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World Environment Day Festival 2019

June 11, 2019
  The always awesome World Environment Day (WED) festival was held in Rotary Park, Cotton Tree on the Sunshine Coast 2nd June 2019. Celebrated in over 100 countries to build awareness and action for the protection of our environment, WED on the Sunshine Coast attracted some thousands of people despite forecasted showers. Despite the bursts of heavy rain and on-and-off showers, our Reef Ambassadors and Surveyors spent the day engaging with members of the public, sharing their passion for reef conservation, and discussing ways individuals can make small behaviour changes to help protect the oceans.   Many visitors to our stall were shocked to see a photo of a pristine coral reef and learn that the image was taken at local Mudjimba Island. We also had a number of divers approach us and share their keenness to get involved with Reef Check's citizen science.  The team also decided to change it up this year by offering mugs to patrons as an alternative to the usual single use coffee cups. These quirky cups, inscribed "you've just been mugged" with the reef check logo, were at hit! Our dedicated team handed them out at each coffee stall to patrons who seemed relieved to have a guilt free alternative (and enjoyed the pun as well). It was wonderful to witness many people wandering around the festival toting our mugs and keep cups, with few opting for the single use alternative. We are taking this as a great success, so get ready to be 'mugged' by us at the next WED!   Overall, a great day was had by all and we were stoked to be involved in World Environment Day. Hats off to the organisers, see you next year!
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A Note From Our Chair

June 03, 2019
    Friends and Colleagues,   Reef Check Australia is non-partisan, rightly and proudly so.  Our volunteers, staff and board members come from all walks of life and political persuasions.  What binds us together is our fascination and deep love for the environment, coupled with respect for the scientific method as a pathway to greater knowledge and rational action.   Many of us are feeling a sense of loss and grief as we see our political leaders and the wider polity step away from decisive action to manage the single largest threat to reef ecosystems – climate change.  We face choices, as individuals and as an organisation. One choice is to retreat.  The safety of the lounge chair, Netflix and a very large drink is attractive.  We can hide.  We can take a moment and recharge. One choice is to step hard into a fight. We can march, rally and shout.  We can disobey, disrupt and deny those who continue to systematically destroy this planet. One choice is to stay the course.  We can, despite the confusion in our heads, the sickness in our guts and the sadness in our hearts, breathe deeply and reflect on our place and our role.  We can just keep going. These choices are not fixed forever.  If you’re feeling beaten down, it’s OK. A choice to withdraw today doesn’t preclude a fight tomorrow.  To choose to fight can manifest in different ways.  Each of us can make our own choice.  I’m not sure whether it is accurate or not that Buckminster Fuller, the legendary architect, was once depressed and suicidal, but the story goes that one of the things that helped lift him out of his depression was a question he asked himself. That question was ‘What work is it that wouldn’t get done if I wasn’t around to do it?’ This is a powerful question that asks us to consider our purpose.  It’s from our purpose that our actions flow.  It’s from our purpose that I can say what choice we’re going to make as an organisation.  Reef Check Australia is not going to retreat and we aren’t going to rest.  Reef Check Australia exists so that we can feel hope and feel connected and be active.  We exist so that our community can be active and contribute positively to the knowledge about reefs.  This purpose has not changed.  The rationality of science, data and action is still real.  There is a need for us, our community, our expeditions, our outreach and our data.  That need hasn’t diminished, it has amplified – become more urgent.  In my mind we stay the course but fight even harder to do so.  We don’t change our purpose or our tactics, but we work harder and do more.  There is only one way for us to do that.  We need you to volunteer, to dive, to support outreach and to help us raise funds.  We exist as a community because we care and because we have hope. And we need you with us.  We need to be stronger.  Our strength comes from you.   Richard
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