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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!

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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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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