Richard Coward Director of Marine Education

Title: Director of Education          Studied: Bachelor of Marine Science, Griffith University & Dip.Ed., USC

“I’ve always been incredibly passionate about the marine environment. I love my job, working with children and adults to educate and inspire them to love the ocean and to want to protect it”.

Richard has extensive experience managing exhibits in local and overseas aquariums, working with sharks, seals, penguins, turtles, sea jellies, fish, octopus and invertebrates to name a few.  He has been involved in research projects such as buoyancy syndrome turtle research, shark research and breeding programs.

Memorable Ocean Experience: Assisting with a whale rescue in Coolum back in 1996 after the calf had become stuck on a sand bank.

Favourite Ocean Creature: Well, that’s tricky as there are so many diverse and amazing creatures out there…but if I had to pick, I guess it would be the dolphin or octopus. Dolphin, because of their intelligence and playful nature. Octopus, also because of their intelligence and also their amazing ability to camouflage against any habitat.


Tracey Coward

Title: Business Manager          Studied: Masters in Business Administration

“I’m proud to be playing a part in nurturing young environmental leaders of tomorrow. I’ve watched my kids grow up sharing our love for animals and the natural environment. It’s so important for children to get the opportunity to experience these things first-hand”.

Memorable Ocean Experience: “I love getting in the ocean and checking out the marine life. I recently went snorkelling with humpback whales and manta rays at Lady Elliot Island with my three (grown up!) kids, which was an incredible thing to do together”.

Favourite Ocean Creature: Humpback whales and manta rays. I’ve been lucky enought to get close to both in their natural habitat. They seem curious and intelligent.


Amber Paulsen

Title: Marine Education Officer          Studied: Bachelor of Psychology, UQ

“I’m a real water baby and love swimming and surfing in the waves with friends. I love the ocean because it’s so much fun and so different to land. It really inspires me when I see children get excited about meeting our marine animals, particularly the turtles. Their eyes open wide and they are so curious and ask some great questions”.

Memorable Ocean Experience: I have many but probably snorkelling in Fiji. The water is calm and clear and the coral is beautiful.

Favorite Ocean Creature: It’s got to be the dolphin. They have so much personality and are cheeky, curious and intelligent and beautiful swimmers.

A word on conservation – “A little goes a long way, so please pick up rubbish”.


Kashenka Hocking

Title: Marine Education Officer          Studied: Bachelor of Marine Science, Griffith University

‘The ocean and all the animals which live in it are my passion and I love having the opportunity to educate and inspire future generations of its importance and beauty.’ 


Memorable Ocean Experience:  I was snorkelling off North Stradbroke Island and I had an amazing encounter with mother and calf bottlenose dolphins. It was amazing to see their playful behaviour and hear their communication from under the water.

Favourite Ocean Creature:  I love all ocean creatures but my favourite would be sharks. I love how majestic they are, although they are very misunderstood. They are such an important part of the marine ecosystem and it’s amazing to see the many adaptations they have for living in their habitat, such as the Epaulette Shark which can walk on land!


Marc Koh

Title: Marine Education Officer          Studying: Bachelor of Marine Science, UQ.

I have a great love for the oceans and all the creatures that live in it, especially those that are often overlooked because they aren’t as big or pretty as the charismatic turtles, cetaceans or sharks. I spend a lot of time working with marine invertebrates, mostly interested in the way we classify them into their different groups and how they are related to one another. I have lots of volunteer experience in labs and have been on many field trips to Heron Island and Minjerribah. When I’m not at a show or university, you’ll probably find me freediving along the South East Queensland Coast!”

Memorable Ocean Experience: Diving with sharks! It’s a really humbling and exhilarating experience!

Favourite Ocean Creature: Easily the Order of marine copepods Mormonilloida! Copepods play an important role in marine food webs by eating phytoplankton, and being eaten by larger animals such as fish and even whales, whale sharks, and manta rays! Mormonilloida are especially beautiful because they have large, complex, fan-like appendages that help them swim through water. Look them up!

Hayley Gee

Title: Marketing & Resources Manager          Studied: Bachelor Business Studies & Diploma in Marketing, UK

“I love the ocean. It’s such an amazing place full of fascinating habitats and life and I’m proud to play a part in trying to protect it for future genrations to enjoy”.

Memorable Ocean Experience: I’ve dived in some amazing places, but I think my most memorable dive was my first ever qualified dive. The minute we were at the ocean floor, a three-metre hammerhead shark swam by! I grabbed the dive master by the arm and wouldn’t let go. It was a totally amazing experience! I love sharks and wish the media would realise how important they are and stop giving them such a bad press!”.

Favourite Ocean Creature: “This is tricky…it’s a toss-up between the octopus and the humpback whale. Octopus, because they are so clever and versatile and humpback whales because they are so acrobatic and are part of our lives for half the year here on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland”.


Tahnee Hanlon

Title: Business Development          Studied: Cert IV in Business

“I just love everything about the ocean – seeing and being in the water with sea life. Snorkelling, diving, exploring by kayak or stand-up paddle board – I’m in the ocean any time I get the chance!”

Memorable Ocean Experience: I’ll never forget swimming at Cable Beach, WA – as I was leaving the water, there was an alert put out – a great white shark and a 6-metre saltwater croc were swimming right where I had just been… eek!!! Another funny ocean experience was feeding the dolphins on Moreton Island – such amazing mammals with cheeky characters. One tried to trip me up so I would drop the bag of fish – she persisted until I did!

Favourite Ocean Creature: Turtles. I love being in office with our turtles! It has been proven that turtles can recognise their keepers and they certainly have intelligence. I will often be at my desk and turn to see four sets of curious eyes watching me as they press up against their tanks, waiting for me to go over and spend time with them. Nothing beats seeing a happy turtle dance. I love the way they press their little flipper against the glass to follow my hand!