An early morning start for an awesome team from Reef Check Australia who headed over to Stradbroke Island on Sunday 1 March for Clean Up Australia Day.
Our land based clean up team assisted SIMO by sorting and recording the rubbish.
The dive team conducted 2 underwater surveys and an underwater clean-up at Amity Point (in absolutely amazing conditions). Despite the pressure from recreational fishing, this site still supports some incredible coral growth, lots of fish life, octopus, wobbegong sharks and nudibranchs. The total amount of rubbish collected on the island was over 500kgs. Well done to the over 130 volunteers who assisted in this Clean Up day!
On January 18, Reef Check Volunteers Rose and Gemma joined 25 of Brisbane's most entrepreneurial young minds at The Cube for the Queensland University of Technology's Reef Challenge, as part of the QUT Summer Holiday Program.
Facilitated by Bop Industries and QUT's The Cube, the workshop saw students from across Brisbane develop innovative solutions for some of the Reef's biggest challenges.
The students were tasked with researching, designing and pitching marketable consumer products that would significantly improve ocean health.
Rose and Gemma worked with the teams, providing guidance on the finer points of marine science while being wowed by the student's creativity and passion.
The team awarded 'Most Entrepreneurial' was Banana Bags who pitched a range of food based, biodegradable carry bags using green banana skins straight from Queensland farms. This team went all in on the circular economy concept, turning a waste product into a desirable item and ensuring it can then be re-purposed as fish food. With a mission to reduce plastic waste and a 'give-back promise' of 10% going to ocean protection, Banana Bags was a sure winner.
Other incredible entries included oil cleaning drones; educational, recyclable plastic rash-vests; and coral harvesting take home kits. The RCA team were seriously impressed at the quality of the ideas on the day!
Thanks to the Port of Brisbane and Queensland Government for supporting our work in this region.
Thanks to the Brisbane survey team for their fantastic efforts collecting quality data from two survey sites at Shag Rock on 21 December.
The survey team left in the early hours of the morning to North Stradbroke Island. The conditions were perfect and the sea life was booming! Two successful surveys completed with giant rays, leopard sharks, moray eels and plenty of fish which is all a sign of a healthy reef.
After the team made their way home they were informed that a Great White Shark was hanging around the corner at Point Lookout!
Thanks to the Queensland Government for supporting our work in this region.
On a bright Saturday morning, volunteers Tanya, Marzia, Krystel and Jodi hopped on a ferry over to Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) for the UQ Moreton Bay Research Station open day.
This annual event is getting very popular, with the station offering activities for kids and environmental nerds of all ages, from touch-tanks, to boat tours of the bay, to talks about how parasites affect turtle ecology. Reef Checkers were happily stationed between the arts and crafts table and the NGO Humpback and High Rises.
The “guess who I am” cards were a big hit with kids - some of them staying for over 30 cards and bringing friends along to check out what they had learned. Although there weren’t too many divers present, adults were very interested to learn about Reef Check Australia’s survey methods and how we get that information to the government and other stakeholders. Lucky for us, a fifth Reef Checker and current UQ Honours student, Tanya Alejo, transformed from station volunteer to Reef Check volunteer in the afternoon, giving the rest of the team a chance to check out some cool talks.
Thanks to the Port of Brisbane and the Queensland Government for supporting our work in this region.
The South Straddie Cleanup 2019 did not disappoint - offering an amazing weekend and learning experience for those who took part. Check out this roundup from Cheryl Tan - one of our fab volunteers!
The RCA team were among over 50 volunteers from a range countries (including the USA, Brazil, Spain, New Zealand, Singapore and of course Australia!) who all came together for a common cause and picked up 650 kgs of rubbish in under 3 hours!
Volunteers learnt how to fill out a data collection sheet used by Positive Change for Marine Life (PCML) to sort the rubbish collected into different categories. This was useful in understanding what and where the rubbish was coming from and made everyone reflect on the bigger issue at hand; the insidious movement from "non-sustainable single-use plastic" to "biodegradable single-use plastic" which is simply placing a band-aid over the issue of micro-plastics and not addressing consumer behaviour towards single-use plastic.
It was a great segway into the evening presentations given by participating organisations (Cleanwater Group, Positive Change for Marine Life & Surfrider Foundation Gold Coast Tweed) which explained the multi-dimensional approach adopted by these groups. It did not stop just at organising community clean-ups; instead they take things one step further by engaging with the community both locally and overseas to find the root cause(s) of pollution and collaborating with local councils and government to implement effective waste management strategies.
Thanks to Cleanwater Group for inviting us along to the event, as well as charity partners Positive Change for Marine Life, Surfrider Foundation Australia and Tangaroa Blue. As well as all of the event sponsors: Byron Bay Brewer, Spirit of the Gold Coast Whale Watching, Patagonia, Biome Eco Stores, Charlies Fruit Markets and Tipplers Licence Cafe for helping make the day such a HUGE success.
A big thanks to City of Gold Coast for their support.
August saw some awesome educational events happening in Brisbane, and as ever our amazing team of ambassadors were there to educate and empower.
On the weekend of 16-18 August, over 4000 people attended Brisbane Science Festival at South Bank.
Reef Check ambassadors raised awareness of the incredible marine diversity found on Brisbane’s doorstep in Moreton Bay and discussed ways that everybody can help protect the ocean, no matter where they live.
We were inspired by the number of young STEM enthusiasts and budding marine biologists we met over the weekend who were excited to tell us about the actions they are already taking to protect the planet!
Meanwhile, the University of Queensland hosted ‘Trash free Tuesday’ over at their St Lucia Campus during sustainability week.
The event brought attention to the range of sustainable choices each and every one of us can make in our daily lives to minimise waste.
Reef Check Ambassadors chatted with staff and students about how to ditch the plastic habit and how to get involved in community clean up and awareness events in SE QLD. We hope to see everyone again soon at one of our local Coast to Coral events.
Thanks to the Queensland Government Citizen Science Grant for supporting our work in this area.
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.
Congratulations Surveyors! Our Brisbane and Gold Coast based surveyor trainees completed their intense Reef Health Surveyor courses over on beautiful North Stradbroke Island earlier this month, after weeks of theory training.
We lucked out with some beautiful conditions out at Shag Rock, and our group of trainees demonstrated some excellent ID skills in the field. Looking forward to you all joining us on surveys soon!
Thanks to all the trainers for all their hard work and knowledge, and thanks as always to Ken from Point Lookout SCUBA for looking after us!
This training would not have been possible without the help and support from the Queensland Government Community Sustainability Action Grant, the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd, and the The Gold Coast City Council.
Reef Check Australia has a current vacancy for a SEQ Project Coordinator. The successful applicant for this position will be based in Brisbane and will have a unique blend of science, field experience and community engagement skills to plan, coordinate and lead our Brisbane and Gold Coast projects.
This is a casual position, 2/3 days a week and reports to the Reef Check Australia SEQ Programs and Community Engagament Manager
If you think you might fit the bill - check out the job description and apply now!
Our Brisbane and Gold Coast Reef Ambassador training has wrapped up - and we're just as excited as our new Ambassadors about what lies ahead!
We're going to leave it to new Reef Ambassador Jodi Burley to tell you a bit more:
"I recently participated in Reef Check’s Ambassador’s training in West End. I joined Reef Check because I wanted to meet like-minded people and I had the impression that this organisation is open to individual ideas and with implementing them. My expectations have been fulfilled- I have recently learned that you can recycle soft plastics at supermarkets, and I am working with other Ambassadors on a project to improve awareness for recycling and reuse of plastics. Awesome experience in citizen science based conservation!!!"
Go Jodi and all our other Ambassadors, new and existing, who are leading the way in their community!
If you'd like to join Jodi and the others in becoming a Reef Ambassador, there's still a couple of spots left on our upcoming Sunshine Coast and Noosa training course. But it closes soon so if you're interested then get your application in fast.