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Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - November Update

November 10, 2020
Dear friend -  Welcome to the November Edition of 'Around the Reef'. Things have been getting exciting at Reef Check Australia. We have been working hard on new ways to help save the reef in these trying times. Our team has been out and about getting the word out and keeping an eye on the reef. New friends and volunteers have joined and we are excitedly cruising into the festive season. Check out our events section to see what we will be getting up to over the next few weeks. Action of the Month: A Month of 'Re's'  Mooloolah River Cruise Beer Yoga with Reef Check Austalia Crafternoon Catch-up Getting to know our volunteers News from the Field Brain Food Current Coral Affairs Get With the Program A Month of 'Re's' This month’s action is all about the ‘RE’. What the heck does that mean I hear you say. Well, it's National Recycling Week this week, and in the spirit of the 3 RE’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) we wanted to take a closer look at all the ‘RE’s’ we could think of and see how we might RE-align ourselves with the very best version of ourselves, for the sake of the planet as a whole. This month's action of the month is to RE-duce any negative habits we might have slipped into during the year, and to RE-introduce good habits. They can be big or small. It's up to you how much you want to get RE-al about. We think we could all RE-pair more items where possible, RE-duce our consumption of single-use items, RE-use and RE-purpose what we can, and RE-cycle whatever is leftover (hopefully not much!). While we are at it, let's take a moment to RE-flect on the positive things that have come out of the year so far (keep that #attitudeofgratitude going!), despite being a particularly tough year for everyone, and make sure to take some time out to RE-fill your cup. Self-care is important. So RE-lax. RE-set. RE-charge and RE-juvenate, so you can be ready for the silly season. And let's RE-ach out and RE-connect with loved ones, even if you can't physically be close. Write a good old fashioned letter, and post it (we can RE-commend a great set of marine-based cards here). Let's RE-think about what we RE-ally need in life, stay safe, and RE-remember that we are all in this together.   One of our Ambassadors showing an example of how we can RE-pair something that still has a lot of life in it.      Check out a few of our local heroes who are also doing the 'Re' Action. If you are looking for some beautiful gifts and a way to help support Reef Check Australia at the same time, Just click on their links below:                 Let's go for a cruise on the Mooloolah River For those of you who have not heard of Saltwater Eco Tours yet, make sure you add this local adventure one to check out. Business Owner and operator, Simon Thornalley had this to say of the launch of his new company:"I am honoured and proud to launch a business that encompasses my passion for culture, as well as maritime history and sailing. Sustainable tourism plays a crucial role in today's society and in the year of Indigenous tourism I am excited to launch Saltwater Eco Tours on the Sunshine Coast." The start of the school holidays saw the official launch of Saltwater Eco Tours, a new, highly anticipated, water-based, Indigenous visitor experience on the Sunshine Coast. Jumping onboard the ‘Spray of the Coral Coast’ we learned all about her history, mixed in amongst Gubbi Gubbi stories of the mountains that surround us. This beautiful vessel is the oldest known of her kind in Australia. Made in 1908, Captain Joshua Slocum, the first person to complete a solo circumnavigation around the globe aboard his vessel ‘Spray’, agreed to provide his yacht's blueprints to have a replica made. It was this replica that would see many owners and sail many seas, to eventually call the Sunshine Coast home. As we hopped on board this historical beauty, the sun was out, the sky was blue, and I was welcomed with lemon myrtle and mint water, fresh Mooloolaba prawns, and a delicious glass of bubbles. What a way to kick off the weekend! I was fortunate enough to join guests from along the South East Queensland coastline to jump on board for the official launch of this awesome new experience. The vessel moves silently through the waterways of Mooloolaba, silent except for the hilarious anecdotes and spins on stories, as told by Kerry Neil. What a beautiful way to see our backyard. To check out what tours they have coming up, check out their Facebook page. And stay tuned for a couple of awesome collaborations in the mix, with Reef Check Australia You can check out more here: Saltwater Eco Tours   This project has been proudly supported by Sunshine Coast Council’s grants program    Reef Check Australia Event: Beer Yoga   Our monthly beer yoga has been a real hit. So one of our fabulous Reef Check Ambassadors, Tara Humphries, has given us a rundown on just what beer yoga actually is. ''Woo hoo, beer yoga! After weeks of seeing the fun on social media, and the events selling out, I finally managed to grab myself a ticket to Beer Yoga at the Brewhouse. It was my first beer yoga event and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I was impressed to see so many people showing up to raise money for a great cause such as Reef Check! Erin from Varsha Yoga lead us through an hour-long Vinyasa yoga class with awesome music and a really good happy vibe. There were quite a few giggles, as we all tried to master the delicate art of beer appreciation, mediation, and yoga. It was an absolute smashing yoga class filled with lovely people to have a laugh and a beer with. I cannot wait for the next one!'' Thanks so much to all involved, especially Erin, Varsha Yoga, Yourmates Brewery, Yourmates Brewhouse, and all the awesome humans who turned up for a great cause and a fun event! If you would like to be part of the next session, take a look at our event section below, and get in fast to get your ticket.   Crafternoon Catch-Up Part of being in the Reef Check Australia family is getting together to help out with other important tasks from time to time. Recently a group of us had lots of fun assembling our REEFSearch Field Kits; a cool underwater slate and field guide that suits any age, and that encourages a better understanding of what we are looking at when we are exploring our beautiful reefs. No matter what we are doing, either above or below the ocean, we always have a giggle catching up and it’s also a great way to exchange ideas with fellow reef checkers! Keen to get your hands on one of our freshly made REEFSearch Kits? Head on over to the SeaStore and grab one in time for the holidays!     Getting to Know our Volunteers at Reef Check Australia Here at RCA, we are all about our volunteers as they are the backbone of what we are all about. So we wanted to introduce you to some of these wonderful humans and find out what makes them tick, by asking a few questions. This month we have been chatting with Amber.  Where are you from? Originally from chilly Melbourne but moved to Queensland when I was a kid ... and the rest is history! Well, not quite. I now live in West End, Brisbane, only a few blocks from Reef Check!! What motivated you to join our team? I’ve been wanting to join the team for so long! I am obsessed with Reef Check’s Coast to Coral talks and I also have some great friends who are ambassadors and surveyors. I really wanted to take my surveying skills to the next level and join my friends on upcoming SEQ surveys. What project are you planning on focusing on? I can't wait to put my Reef Check training into practice as soon as possible and undertake some SEQ surveys. I’ve also signed up for the Mooloolaba Ecological Assessment and Mapping (MEAM) Project, so fingers crossed I get to be a part of that. I’m keen to contribute as much as I can to citizen science projects, including all the great work that CoralWatch does. I would love to get more involved with coral restoration projects and I want to continue engaging with the community about the impacts of climate change and what we can do for the future of our reefs. What animal do you think best represents you? As I’m creative, I would say the Japanese Pufferfish - the artist of the sea! They work tirelessly to create a masterpiece while fighting the elements. Sadly, I am nowhere near as talented as the little pufferfish!! Night owl or early bird? Early bird. Watching the sunrise is a beautiful way to start the day! Flying or invisibility? Definitely flying! But I’d need to practice my landing as I suspect I’d be like the Greatest American Hero. Yet another awesome 80s tv show!!! Favourite food? Mangoes! I wait all year for the taste of summer!! Favourite Marine animal? Jellyfish! They are absolutely fascinating. From the mesmerising light shows of the deep to the Benjamin Button immortal jellies who can reverse the aging process, jellies are incredible! Swimming in Jellyfish Lake in Palau surrounded by swarms of Moon and Golden jellies was like being in a magical wonderland! I never wanted to leave. Thanks Amber for being an important part of Reef Check Australia.     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   Outrigger Clean-up Dive We’re proud to say our volunteer SEQ coordinator Emily, completed her first RCA clean-up dive after completing her ReefCheck EcoDiver qualifications with us all the way back in March! Here’s Ems update on how the dive went… Cheers to my first official RCA clean-up dive! Reef Check has taken me to some pretty incredible local reef sites but it’s not all beautiful vis and great conditions…. Saturdays dive site was ingloriously, near shore, silty, shallow water. We turned up our patience and sifted along the bottom, unhooking lures and cutting through fishing line for a solid 70 minutes at a max depth of 2.7m at the Golden Beach boat ramp in Caloundra. We pulled a whopping 10kg of debris, around 1.5km of fishing line, 41 lures, along with straws, rope, bottles, sinkers, rings, and spearfishing spears… Researchers believe it will take around 600 years for monofilament fishing line to biodegrade in our oceans and it only took us 70 minutes to pick up 1.5km of it… It’s always confronting to find so much destruction in such a small area, but like the glass bottle below, it’s pretty incredible to see how nature adapts to our neglect! The chance to participate in clean up dives and make a difference to the local ocean area we love, make the good diving days, that much better! These are the kinds of community events with so much love and collaboration behind the scenes and with our ladies, Julie, Emily, Tania, and Jodi diving. We had Terry on surface watch and Elliot as our medic on stand by. Thanks to Bradys Fruit Barn in Palmwoods for supplying us with some onions bags! And importantly the team at Tangaroa Blue collecting the data through AMDI, working on solutions to stop litter at the source! If you want to get involved with one of RCA’s clean-ups, keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming events or join the mailing list to be notified!   This project is funded by Healthy Land and Water (HLW) through the Australian Government National Landcare Program.     Reef Check Australia at Moreton Kids Festival, Strathpine The annual Moreton Kids Festival was held again this year but under COVID safeguards at Pine River Park, Strathpine. 7,500 kids, parents, and grandparents turned up and were not disappointed. Just as soon as you walked through the ticket gates, you were in the “Green Kids World” which was one of the 5 worlds on a beautiful Sunday. Many families were turned away because of COVID limits placed on the one-day event. Danni, Gina, Jodi, and I, no doubt others pulled the event together for the day. A day before the Kids Fest, and at the last minute, I raced down to the local fabric shop and purchased 5 meters of green material and threaded and stitched the two halves together. This made for a great “Green Screen” and with my trusty iPad and a green screen app, we were all set for the day. The display table was set up and just as soon as the gates opened Gina was busy photographing! 60 photos were taken and shared: a MASSIVE achievement considering everything else that was going on at the same time. Big thanks to the UQ Marine Society who also lent a hand! In all, it was a great day and a great display by Reef Check Australia. Written by Colin Scobie, Reef Check Australia Ambassador.        North Queensland Reef Survey at Fitzroy Island The team from Reef Check Australia conducted a second Reef Check Reef Health survey at Welcome Bay on Fitzroy Island offshore from Cairns. GBR Coordinator Nathan Cook, Reef Check Surveyors Mila Grinblat, and Jules Lim completed surveys of fish, invertebrates, impacts, and the substrate. The visibility was great and the reef is looking in pretty good condition. With the water temperature heating up at 27 degrees we are hopeful that this summer remains relatively cool in light of the expected La-Nina conditions but will be keeping an eye on the weather as the New Year approaches. ReefClean | Beach & Underwater Cleanup Last month Tangaroa Blue hosted a ReefClean beach and underwater cleanup at Luncheon Bay, Hook Island in the Whitsundays region of the Great Barrier Reef. Whilst we were pleased to find no trash underwater despite our best efforts our team collected almost 5kg of trash from along the beach, 4 more kilograms than when we visited in May earlier this year. However, better out than in, we say! While we were in the area, we took the opportunity to conduct a number of Reef Check Australia, Coral Watch, and GBMPA’s Eye on the Reef surveys with our new cohort of reef ambassadors including the Oui’s, a local family of Traditional Owners and Ngaro people based in the Bowen region.   The ReefClean project is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and a number of partner organisations including Reef Check Australia. HUGE Mununundo (Ngaro language for "Thank You") to James, Tyler, and the entire @oceanrafting team for the photos and for supporting our efforts to collect marine debris and all the data!   Whitsunday's Surveyor & Ambassador Liveaboard Training We've been incredibly busy up here in the Great Barrier Reef. Two weekends ago Reef Check Australia was lucky enough to head over to the Whitsundays with True Blue Sailing aboard New Horizon and 8 reef surveyor and 11 reef ambassador trainees. Reef Check Australia is all about citizen science so it was fantastic to have a wide range of saltlovers onboard learning about reef health monitoring and community education. We had Naro Traditional Owners, Marine science students, travelers, Townsvillians, local Whitsundays residents and even some from SE Qld join our tribe of salty ocean lovers. We conducted Reef Check Australia training, Coralwatch surveys, Eye on the Reef surveys, and can you believe we even fitted in some Great barrier reef census data. We also have 5 more thalassophiles that will be joining our team after a few more t's are crossed and i's are dotted. Here are our favourite quotes from the weekend: "My surveyor dives were some of the best dives I’ve ever done. It combined everything I love. A magical underwater wonderland, curiosity, and knowledge. Being able to study the reef in detail and discuss what I was looking at while underwater (using slates) was incredible. It was like floating in my own documentary. I loved it!! And I learnt so much!!!" - Amber, Coral Watch Ambassador, and Reef Check Australia Surveyor. "I felt incredibly inspired and so thankful to have connected with a group of amazing reef advocates, the best part of the experience for me was meeting a great group of like-minded individuals, learning about everyone's backgrounds, and seeing how people from such different walks of life can come together with a common passion and goal. The ability to make a positive change is enhanced when you can bring together a group like the RC ambassadors and surveyors." - Arnikah, Reef Check Australia Ambassador, and Reef Ecologic Intern. "If sailing the Whitsundays with a group of diverse, knowledgeable and super fun people learning all about coral reefs, monitoring their health and generally having an awesome time wasn’t enough - spending evenings under millions of stars, watching dolphins and sharks feed around the boat was beyond incredible! I’ve come away with new friends, mentors, and a serious drive to protect our oceans and everything in them." - Romy, Reef Check Australia Ambassador. Congratulations to our new team members, and make sure you keep a lookout for some great new projects and events in this area of our beautiful GBR and even SE Qld!   The Reef Check Australia Whitsundays Citizen Science Project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Thank you also to TrueBlue Sailing for hosting us and Aquadive for supporting our team with gear.      Brain Food Reviews and details on books, documentaries, and podcasts that we have come across, & wanted to share. Books   Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World Among all the large whales on Earth, the most unusual and least studied is the narwhal, the northernmost whale on the planet, and the one most threatened by global warming. Narwhals thrive in the fjords and inlets of northern Canada and Greenland. These elusive whales, whose long tusks were the stuff of medieval European myths and Inuit legends, are uniquely adapted to the Arctic ecosystem and are able to dive below thick sheets of ice to depths of up to 1,500 meters in search of their prey-halibut, cod, and squid. Documentaries/Films  David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet Celebrated British naturalist Sir David Attenborough has a broadcasting career spanning over six decades. He has visited every continent on the globe, exploring the wild places of our planet and bringing the wonders of the living world to audiences worldwide through ground-breaking natural history series. His work includes Life on Earth, Planet Earth, and more recently the Netflix original documentary series Our Planet. Streaming now on Netflix Podcast   Science Vs Science Vs takes on fads, trends, and the opinionated mob to find out what’s fact, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between. A really great podcast to check out. Available on most platforms and online here.   Current Coral Affairs Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean:    Our Oceans Are Capturing More Carbon Than Expected – Underestimated by Up to 900,000,000 Metric Tons of Carbon per year. - Read more    'Detached' reef bigger than Empire State building discovered in 500 meters of water off Queensland - Read more    The  Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice: How Are They Different? -  Read more   Get with the Program Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates.    Tuesday, 10 November 2020: Coast to Coral | The World's Largest Fish! Whale Sharks & how Citizen Science can Help. Monday, 30 November 2020: Beer Yoga at the Brewhouse Friday, 11 December 2020: Yoga Under The Sea  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.    Make a Donation   Copyright © 2020 Reef Check Australia, All rights reserved.Our mailing address is: Reef Check Australia1/377 Montague RdWest End, QLD 4101Australia
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Reef-Safe Sunscreen

August 25, 2020
Reef-Safe Sunscreen - ☀️ How to Protect Yourself and the Reef   By Lisa Goldenberg, Reef Check Australia Ambassador Freediver ● Ocean lover ● Coffee drinker   We get to the beach, Slip! Slop! Slap!, and off we go. But what are we actually slopping on? Is it good for us? Is it good for the reef? Perhaps you’re a weekend snorkeler or maybe an avid Reef Check surveyor. Maybe, like us, you marvel at the colours and shapes of the coral, stare in wonder at their vibrant forms and hues, become mesmerized by the fish swimming by too dazzling to believe. The stunning vast blue. The mystical depths that lure us to play and explore. As ocean lovers, we want to enjoy the ocean responsibly. We don’t use single-use plastic, we don’t stand on or kick the coral, and we don’t want to leave a trail of harmful sunscreen in our wake. While Queensland is home to the most beautiful reefs in the world, we are also known as the skin-cancer capital of the world. As we dive into the ocean and work to protect the reefs, we must also protect ourselves from the sun. Sunscreens work by providing either a physical barrier or a chemical barrier from the sun’s harmful rays. In order for a reef to work, corals need access to the rays we are shielding ourselves from. Along with warm temperature, clean and clear saltwater, corals need sunlight to survive. As we swim along enjoying the reef, it is estimated we leave behind up to 14,000 tons of sunscreen annually. This not only harms marine life but also covers the most popular reefs in tourist parks with a sunscreen sheen, blocking the sun from getting to the coral below. And even in extremely low concentrations, it’s been shown that sunscreens can cause rapid and complete bleaching of hard corals. Image by Everyday California Some marine parks, like Cozumel in Mexico, ban sunscreen outright. In those instances, a stinger suit or SPF rashie is your best bet. They cover and protect you while causing no harm to the reef. But usually, sunscreen is a must. And while no sunscreen is completely safe for coral and marine life, there are choices we can make to protect ourselves while minimizing the harm to the reef. When choosing a sunscreen, ignore the marketing and sustainable-looking packaging.  Be wary of labels that claim the product is “reef safe,” because the question is: safe for whom? The term “reef safe” doesn’t have an agreed-upon definition, and isn’t strictly regulated by the government. And of course, companies that sell sunscreen are in the business of selling sunscreen. And while the Cancer Council of Queensland recommends the use of water-resistant sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher, they don’t concern themselves with whether the sunscreen’s ingredients are harmful to the reef - or to our skin. As reef lovers, it’s our responsibility to choose our sunscreen carefully. We must check the ingredients and look for ingredients that are safe - for both us and the reef. Here’s what to avoid and what to look for: Avoid: 🚫 Oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3) and octinoxate (also known as octyl methoxycinnamate). These chemicals have been proven to harm marine life and coral reefs and have been linked to hormone disruption, cell damage, and allergic reactions. In January, Palau became the first country to ban these chemicals. They are also banned in Hawaii, and several other tropical regions throughout the world. (Perhaps Queensland should do the same?) 🚫 Nanoparticles are so small they can enter our bloodstream. They are also absorbed by coral. They cause oxidative stress that may lead to cell damage, genotoxic effects, inflammatory responses, and changes in cell structure. 🚫 Parabens (Butylparaben, Methylparaben, and Propylparaben) are harmful to the reefs and have been found to act as endocrine disruptors. 🚫 Cinnamates (Octyl methoxycinnamate and Cinoxate) have been shown to negatively impact coral reefs. Look for: ✅ Zinc oxide and/or Titanium dioxide sunscreens are mineral sunscreens. These physically block the sun’s rays and have not been shown harmful to the reefs. They are biodegradable and hypo-allergenic. ✅ “Non-nano” refers to particles larger than 100 nanometers and is considered safe for us and the reef. ✅ Water-resistant sunscreen helps keep the product on your skin and not wash off in the water. ✅ Wait at least 15 minutes after applying your sunscreen before entering the water so that your skin can absorb it and it won’t wash right off.   It’s our responsibility to do what we can to safeguard the health of the reefs that we love. How we act in the water and the products we introduce to it are our opportunity to do just that.  What are your favorite sunscreens? Let us know what you recommend!  
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Be an Ocean Action Agent | DIY Beeswax Wraps

August 11, 2020
Have you heard of beeswax wraps??? They are all the rage right now! Beeswax wraps are fun, easy to make and a great eco friendly alternative to plastic cling wrap. Check out our new DIY beeswax wrap poster guide to get your hands (slightly) dirty and make some of your own! For more plastic free tips checkout our online resources here  Thank you to Townsville City Council and our awesome volunteers for supporting this new resource!
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Low Isles Tangaroa Blue ReefCleen Event May 2020

June 16, 2020
Low Isles in the Port Douglas region of the Great Barrier Reef is truly spectacular. On a cool winters day in the shadow of Covid19 the scene was quiet, however the reefs are looking spectacular demonstrating strong recovery from the bleaching that severely affected it three years ago. There were minimal signs of bleaching impacts in 2020 however. Thank you to Wavelength Reef Cruises for hosting us out on the reef and assisting us in completing our work. Reef Check Australia were on site as part of the Tangaroa Blue ReefClean event. We conducted an underwater clean up at the site and thankfully found very little rubbish. A few masks and snorkels under where the tourist boats would normally park but generally pretty clean. I can’t help but wonder if the lack of tourists currently on site had an affect on the low level of rubbish we found. The ReefClean project is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and a number of partner organisations including Reef Check Australia       
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Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - June Update

June 16, 2020
Dear Friend of RCA -  With Winter now in full swing, and restrictions gradually beginning to reduce, we are starting to see more people out and able to enjoy our beautiful natural habitats, and that includes the oceans. Our volunteers have been busy online, and out surveying the nearby reefs to keep us all updated. Here's what is coming up in this months edition of 'Around the Reef'. Action of the Month: Donating to Reef Check Australia Telling the stories of Reef Check Australia My Giving Circle National Volunteer Week Getting to know our volunteers News from the Field Current Coral Affairs Get With the Program Action of the Month: Donating to Reef Check Australia Reef Check Australia really appreciates all the donations of both time and money to support our team and the work we do. With only a few more weeks left till the end of the financial year your support is more important then ever. If you would like to donate, please use the link below to go to our secure website. Remember all donations over $2 are tax-deductible, and you can choose to donate as a once-off amount or through regular monthly donations.   Make a Donation   Are you collecting bottles and cans around your house ready to be recycled? Well another way to help is to have the refund donated to Reef Check Australia. All you need to do is scan the below barcode at the machine at your local TOMRA recycling centre. Find my local TOMRA Recycling Centre   Telling the Stories of Reef Check Australia Over the past couple of months, RCA has been working with students from ANU in Canberra, to help showcase the amazing array of volunteers that make up our organisation. We will be sharing these videos and stories with you in the coming weeks, but we also wanted to share the story of the students that put them together. It's going to take all hands on deck to change the world, and we want to celebrate everyone. Paris, from ANU Canberra shared her experience with us here... 'As part of a science communication course at ANU in Canberra, we were given the opportunity to work with an incredible citizen science organisation – Reef Check Australia (RCA). We were tasked with developing social media content (short videos, photos and blogs) in celebration of the citizen scientists and volunteers that work for RCA. We wanted to showcase the diversity in the academic and professional backgrounds of the volunteers, as well as their ability to help protect the reef from locations around Australia (and the world!). The whole experience for us was invaluable, and we hope that the content we produced will encourage others that they have the power to get involved and make a difference. Thank you again for this opportunity, we hope to see you out on the reefs one day!' You can take a look at one of the videos here...   We Need Your Vote! My Giving Circle Thank you to all who have already voted and shared. We still need your votes. You can go online and vote once a week till June 30.   Reef Check Australia are one of the thousands of charities around the world that are registered for My Giving Circle for 2020. If we get enough votes between now and June 30, we are able to share in $200,000 worth of grant money.Keen to see us win? All you need to do is vote for Reef check Australia #1 once a week, between now and June 30. Want to do even more to get across the line? Donate to Reef Check Australia through the My Giving Circle link and we will get even more votes, increasing our chances of winning!   Celebrating our Volunteers : National Volunteer Week 2020 (& Every Week!) In May we celebrated National Volunteer Week. We LOVE our volunteers, and although we couldn't all get together, we thought it might be a nice time to celebrate just what being a volunteer means. Our volunteers come from all over the world and are involved in everything both above and below the water. Because it's going to take all hands on deck to protect our reefs and oceans. This video shows just some of the diverse range of volunteers we have at RCA, take a look...       Getting to Know our Volunteers at Reef Check Australia Here at RCA we are all about our volunteers as they are the backbone to what we are all about. So we wanted to introduce you to some of these wonderful humans and find out what makes them tick, by asking a few questions. This month we have been chatting to Olga, who has been actively out and about in her neighborhood collecting recyclable cans and bottles to be donated to RCA. ''Moin Leute! (Hi guys, in German) My name is Olga, an international student from Germany. I joined RCA at the beginning of my stay here in Australia because I love the idea of citizen science and saving the reef. You can help keep the oceans and reef clean even if you think you don't have any direct impact. Recycling is one of these things you can do easily, and make a difference to the reef, and to Reef Check Australia. You can join us in 'Recycling for the Reef'. Simply use the bar code below, and take your cans and bottles to your local TOMRA recycling centre, and the refunds will be donated to Reef Check Australia. Easy!''    We also asked Olga a few interesting questions..... Name: Olga Where are you from?: Germany What is the project you are working on/ hope to start for RCA? 'Recycling for the Reef' and 'Plasticfree Markets' What animal do you think best represents you? Cat Are you a night owl, or an early bird? Night Owl Would your superpower be Flying or invisibility? Flying What is your favorite food? Chili cheese fries What is you favorite marine animal? Crabs Thanks Olga for being an important part of Reef Check Australia.   News from the field Stories and updates from our teams out & about. Check out some of these regional stories on our website! Virtual Catch up with the GBR Crew  The Reef Check Australia GBR team had a virtual catch up last month. It was great to share some space and start making waves again since COVID-19 restrictions have started to ease. We checked in with each other, spoke about what opportunities we have coming up and brainstormed some new resources for our GBR ambassador kits and community engagement events. Sunshine Coast After many weeks of cancelled surveys due to unsuitable weather and COVID-19 restrictions it was great to get back in the water and conduct our first offshore SEQ surveys in some time. Surface conditions were great and we were very comfortable aboard Subsurface Scuba's vessel "Sea Searcher". 23 degree water temp and 15-20m visibility made for great diving conditions despite some surge. Surveys were conducted at Currimundi Reef sites 1,2 & 3. Site 3 presented an abundance of anemone and anemonefish. The site 1 transect tape was laid with guidance from a large squad of inquisitive squid that seemed to know our heading! On our trip back to port a friendly dolphin pulled us over to have a chat. Great work SEQ team!! These surveys are supported by funding through the Sunshine Coast Council's Environment Levy Partnership Grant.     Moreton Bay After weeks of bad weather and COVID considerations, we were finally blessed with crystal clear waters, blue skies and written confirmation from the Queensland Government that we were allowed to get back in the water to continue our vital Reef Health Monitoring. Mud Island is an interesting site. With large areas accumulating silt, most wouldn't think twice of avoiding this small island area. However, it was a beautiful example of how diverse the coral populations can be, in such close proximity to a bustling city. There was so much coral, it was beautiful to see. The water was a little cold, but such a lovely way to kick off surveys in the region. This Reef Check Australia project is proudly supported by the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd       North Queensland Fitzroy Island Showing Signs of Continued Reef Health. The Reef Check Australia team headed to Fitzroy Island and found time to complete a reef health survey at one of the sites on the north western side of the island. The site has been surveyed 3 times over the past 13 months and continues to show strong signs of continued health. Hard coral cover has increased from 31% to 49% in that time highlighting reef growth since substantial declines were recorded after the 2017 bleaching. Bleaching this year was evident, but most of the coral the team saw during our survey was healthy. Where bleaching was still evident, the corals were in recovery and look like they will continue that way throughout 2020. Other notable observations included low levels of algal growth and no recently dead coral. We were also lucky to spot a turtle relaxing amongst the corals toward the end of our survey.   Low Isles in the Port Douglas region of the Great Barrier Reef is truly spectacular. On a cool winters day in the shadow of Covid19 the scene was quiet, however the reefs are looking spectacular demonstrating strong recovery from the bleaching that severely affected it three years ago. There were minimal signs of bleaching impacts in 2020 however. Thank you to Wavelength Reef Cruises for hosting us out on the reef and assisting us in completing our work. Reef Check Australia were on site as part of the Tangaroa Blue ReefClean event. We conducted an underwater clean up at the site and thankfully found very little rubbish. A few masks and snorkels under where the tourist boats would normally park but generally pretty clean. I can’t help but wonder if the lack of tourists currently on site had an affect on the low level of rubbish we found.      The Reefclean project is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation, and a number of partner organisations including Reef Check Australia   Want to see what we get up to on our Reef Surveys? A few of our Reef Check Australia Surveyors have put together a video of what they actually get up to on a typical survey. Take a look....     Current Coral Affairs Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean:   Watch an inspirational take on the state of our oceans and an effective way to get the message across by Johannes Stoetter. Read More   Scientists push to raise awareness of the Great Southern Reef. Finding a way to protect this 'biodiversity hotspot'. Read More    Woolworth's to add a paper bag option at checkout. Will this be an effective way to reduce the ever increasing problem of plastic waste? Read More     Get with the Program Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates.  Tuesday, 9 June 2020: Coast to Coral: Light Pollution and the Environment    June 2020, date TBC: We have another Tangaroa Blue Reef Cleanup happening at Magnetic Island. We have not set a date yet for this event but are currently watching the weather so that we can make the most of it. If you would like to join us, please get in touch with jenni@reefcheckaustralia.org or nathan@reefcheckaustralia.org so we can keep you in the loop! Tuesday, 14 July 2020: Coast to Coral: The Wonderful World of Crabs and their Diversity     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.    Make a Donation   Copyright © 2020 Reef Check Australia, All rights reserved.Our mailing address is: Reef Check Australia1/377 Montague RdWest End, QLD 4101Australia
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May 2020 St Helena Reef Health Surveys

May 13, 2020
After a period of postponements due to weather and COVID19 restrictions, the Reef Check Australia team headed out for a day on Moreton Bay to complete some Reef Health surveys. Good water visibility at Manly Boat Ramp bouyed our spirits and upon arrival at St Helena Island we were pleased to be able to see the substrate from the boat. The 2 sites at St Helena have patchy coral, but it was rather healthy with only a small amount of bleaching observed. It was also pleasing to note there was hardly any trash. The excellent smooth surface conditions made up for the rather chilly water.
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