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How To Have An Eco-Friendly Festive Season!

December 04, 2018
If you're trying to figure out how to be a friend to the environment as well as your loved ones this festive season - our Action of the Month for December is made for you! ​We've come uyp with a few ways to make the silly season a little more enviro-friendly - and there's options here that everyone can do. So keep reading for our tops tips if you're dreaming of a green Christmas!   Avoid buying material items that aren’t wanted/needed . Instead, try making a donation or adoption in someone’s name, or getting them an experience to remember, like a scuba dive or snorkel trip if they’re an ocean lover! Scrap the wrap – We use around 8000 tonnes of wrapping paper each year in Australia alone. So ask yourself – do you REALLY need to wrap it? Or can you re-use wrapping paper from last year, or find another material to wrap with? Resist the urge to splurge – When it comes to the dinner table, we all tend to get a bit over-indulgent during the Festive Season. Try to only cater to the number of people you have coming and how much they can eat! And if you do make too much food, use all your leftovers. Source local – Whether it’s gifts or food items, try to source from small local businesses or locally made items. Take back the power – Yes it’s Christmas, but do you really need 2000 fairy lights, air con blazing, TV on and the radio playing festive tunes all the time? Give the environment a gift this year and reduce your carbon footprint!   On behalf of the team at Reef Check Australia - we wish you a very merry and eco-friendly festive season.
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Whats the Buzz with Beeswax Wraps?

November 13, 2018
If you're Queensland based, you may have noticed that there were a few rather wet weeks recently. While the rain was very welcome, it did limit the Reef Check team's outdoor activities a bit - but we found something else to keep us entertained! We took advantage of the bad weather to take a long hard look at our plastic addiction, and looked into a few more ways we can all change some of our daily behaviours to make a more positive impact on the world around us. One simple action we were happy to take on was to ditch the cling wrap and DIY some beeswax wraps instead.     Beeswax wraps are a reusable, washable (in warm soapy water) and sustainable alternative to single use plastic and cling wrap.  And all you need is some cotton (dark colours work best, and you CAN use left over material!), some organic Australian beeswax, coconut oil and access to an oven.  No more plastic covers in our fridges!!   How To Make Your Beeswax Wraps: Turn the oven on, at 180 degrees Celsius Place a few sheets of greaseproof paper onto the metal tray then lay one of your cotton squares on top of this. Evenly sprinkle your beeswax over the cotton square, ensuring that you go to the edges. Put the tray with the wrap covered in beeswax into the oven until the wax is melted.  This will only take a few seconds! Pull the tray out of the oven and place on a heat resistant top.  Drizzle a small amount (10ml) of coconut oil onto the fabric.  Use a brush to make sure the wax and coconut oil is spread evenly throughout.  If any of the material is not covered, spread the wax and oil to the corners, and put back in the oven for a few seconds more.   Peel the wax infused cotton square off the greaseproof paper and let it cool and set on a wire rack or peg it onto a line of string to dry.  This will only take a few minutes Use as you would cling-wrap! If after time they need a little reinvigorating, simply warm soap wash, and pop back in the oven to reset. The best part?  This is a GREAT activity to get kids and students involved with, AND you get to make a difference for the planet! Thanks to the June Canavan Foundation Grant for supporting Reef Check Australia in these initiatives! If you don't think you'd make them yourself but still want to cut down on your clingwrap use then check out the range of beeswax wraps in Biome's online store.
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Seaside Scavenge Success!

October 31, 2018
October 21st saw Reef Check Australia host the second successful Magnetic Island seaside scavenge and clean up event, with a fantastic and productive day had by all.       This innovative event allows volunteers to collect and sort marine debris in exchange for tokens to purchase items from the pop-up pre-loved market on the day. The 2018 scavenge saw 20kg of trash picked up around the island including over 1000 cigarette butts! It's so important for those who do smoke to remember to be careful where they dispose of their cigarette butts. Despite the recent Queensland ban on single use plastic bags, many  bags were also among the items collected this year. Australians burn through billions of light weight plastic bags a year almost none of which are being recycled... inevitably there is a lot that slips through the cracks or, in this case, catches the currents out to sea.  Scavenge volunteers were also treated to some awesome music from local musicians including Lauren Gregory, Andy Lewis, Sylvie Dewitte, fREEK and Ben & Cara as well as the opportunity to learn how to make t-shirt bags with our Reef Check Ambassadors.     Of course, you don't have to join a seaside scavenge to help rid our oceans of marine debris! Take action today to find out more ways to reduce your waste and environmental impact.
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Reef Check At Caloundra Music Festival

October 09, 2018
Reef Check Australia once again teamed up with the Caloundra Music Festival for 2018 as a celebration of the International Year of the Reef!  Despite the windy and wet weather, the crowd took advantage of our popular green screen, transplanting themselves into a variety of underwater wonderlands.  Festival goers were encouraged to pick a pledge (something they DIDN'T already do) to showcase what they were willing to do for the love of our reefs and oceans.     To accentuate the focus on local Sunshine Coast reefs as apart of #IYOR2018 Reef Check Australia also partnered with local artists Yasmin Bridges from Awkward Chat and Ross Holloway to create a truly amazing 3D installation as a part of the festival.  The stunning 'Lets get Visual' installation utilised locally sourced recycled materials and the amazing local marine environment for inspiration. The installation was designed to encourage the community to think about their daily actions and how they impact the world around us.  The banner was made of reused festival mesh from last year‘s event; the seats were milk crates with covers made from a broken dome tent and an old yoga mat, both sourced from the Buderim tip. The jellyfish in the trees were constructed from discarded packaging materials: bubblewrap and mesh from a local art supplies store.   The Reef Check Australia green screen and stall at Caloundra Music Festival is made possible through support from the Caloundra Music Festival, our amazing volunteers, and the Sunshine Coast Councils Environment Levy Partnership Grant program. The 3D art installation is a fantastic collaboration between science and art. Thanks to local artist Awkward Chat and Ross Holloway.  It was made possible through support from the local Sunshine Coast Councils Community Development Minor Grant program  
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A Note To Our Amazing Volunteers

October 02, 2018
  For years Reef Check Australia has been doing amazing things to help our reefs…and we’ve been able to do it all because of you, our fabulous volunteers. Thank you so much! You’ve helped us with reef health surveys, underwater and beach clean-ups, film screenings, music festivals, community talks, trivia nights…the list goes on and on. Our small team of staff do an amazing job coordinating all these activities and with your help have made some incredible things happen.  However, they can’t do it without your support and commitment.  I’d like to ask one small extra thing from you; if you commit to an event please do your best to attend.  The biggest burden on our staff is managing logistics and they struggle if people don’t deliver on their promises.  We understand that things come up – I missed a wedding once because one of my kids who was a toddler at the time dug up a dogs’ bone from our sandpit and ate it – so we get it! We appreciate your efforts, we appreciate as much notice as possible if something does come up and of course we appreciate your smiling faces at our events. Thanks to you all. Richard Coleman, Chair of the Board        
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SEQ Survey Season Launch!

September 04, 2018
The South East Queensland survey season has now officially begun, with an awesome team of Reef Check Australia volunteers recently spending the weekend on gorgeous (and quite wet!) Stradbroke Island refreshing their reef surveyor ID skills in addition to learning new skills with Fish identification.  Despite the cold and sometimes rainy weekend, teams also completed four reef health surveys at Flat and Shag rock off Stradbroke Island.    Teams were treated to many a turtle, plenty of whales breaching, and wobbegongs a plenty!   As ever we need to say a huge thank you to our amazing volunteers for their time and dedication over the weekend- reef monitoring simply cannot be done without them, and we are so lucky to have volunteers willing to donate their whole weekend to monitoring the reef.  Thanks also go to Holzheimer (Point Lookout SCUBA Dive Charters) for getting the team to our sites, and to the Queensland Government's Community Sustainability Action Grants for supporting these vital projects. What a way to kick off the season!
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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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REEFSearch Update!

August 21, 2018
Attention wannabe reef protectors! Did you know there is a way you can help monitor our reefs in your spare time? Reef Check Australia's current team of over 150 incredible REEFSearchers have been out and about gathering vital information on their local reefs.  We think that's pretty awesome, so we want to tell you about it and let you know how you can join them. A total of 494 surveys have so far been completed at more than 100 sites, from all around Australia!  There have been soooo many new sites with information uploaded via the REEFSearch Hub, including Byron Bay, Hervey Bay, Lady Elliot Island,  Moreton Bay, Torquay Victoria and Ningaloo Reef.                                  The hard work of our REEFSearchers is so important in the battle to protect our reefs and oceans. Their contributions help us see what they're seeing at more locations, more regularly. What amazing work!  A big round of applause for each and every one of our existing REEFSearchers. And if you've been inspired, why not sign up as a REEFSearcher today! 
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