Tag Archives: human impact

Bringing Nature into the Classroom

 

“Bringing nature into the classroom can kindle a fascination and passion for the diversity of life on earth and motivate a sense of responsibility to safeguard it”,

Sir David Attenborough.

 

Ocean Life Education’s Director of Education, Richard Coward, is a firm believer that education is the key to protecting the ocean. So, Richard has spent the past 14 years visiting schools, early learning centres and community events, passionately educating and inspiring young minds to feel a responsibility to protect the our seas.

“Our goal is to educate Australians about how our lives are interconnected with our oceans and to inspire them to feel a responsibility to take action to protect them”, Richard Coward, Director of Education, Ocean Life Education.

 

A Passion for Protecting the Ocean

Ocean Life Education was set up in 2006 by Director of Education and Marine Biologist, Richard Coward. Richard studied Marine Ecology at Queensland’s Griffith University and commenced his career running Sunshine Coast’s Underwater World education programs and was later promoted to Curator of Fishes.

Richard went on to work on the creation of a new aquarium in South Korea. Whilst diving in the ocean, he was astonished by the complete lack of marine life. This was the first time he had experienced first-hand the devastating consequences of human impact caused by over-fishing. This education inspired him to take action. Richard saw this as a wakeup call and was determined this was not going to be allowed to happen in Australia. Thus, his passion for protecting the ocean was born.

Richard’s career went off down many paths: managing exhibits in aquariums worldwide and working with sharks, seals, penguins, turtles, sea jellies, fish, octopus, and invertebrates, to name a few.  He has been involved in research projects and breeding programs as well as whale rescue and his knowledge has frequently been reported on television, including a whole feature on the Totally Wild television show. Throughout all this, promoting conservation has always been at the heart of what he does.

 

Taking the Ocean into the Classroom

Richard soon realised that educating future generations was the key to them understanding why the ocean is so important to us and inspiring them to take action to protect it. “You protect what you love”, he quotes.

But many children were unable to get to the ocean or even to an aquarium to experience ocean life first-hand, so the idea of taking the ocean to the classroom was hatched and Ocean Life Education was born.

 

Our Programs & Marine Educators

Since 2006, Ocean Life Education has promoted the protection of our oceans to hundreds and thousands of Australians throughout Queensland and New South Wales. Our aim is to bring the sea to the community or classroom.  Marine educators arrive with live marine animals, fascinating artefacts, games and resources and students get a hands-on experience interacting with the animals. They hopefully finish off knowledgeable and inspired to want to protect the ocean and passionate to tell their friends and families why they should do the same.

                       

Our Programs

Early Learning – Ocean Discovery Program https://www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/programs/early-learning/

Primary – Curriculum based and tailored themes and activities https://www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/programs/primary-schools/

Holiday Programs (OSHC) – Human Impact, Sharks, Weird & Wonderful https://www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/programs/holiday-program/

High School – Curriculum based and tailored themes and activities https://www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/programs/high-school/

Events – live marine displays, beach walks, lectures, workshops (tailored to requirement) https://www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/programs/events/

 

Further reading

For more information about what we can all do to protect the ocean, check out our blog:

https://www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/how-can-i-protect-the-ocean/

 

Hope to see you soon!

 

Celebrating SeaWeek

There is one time of the year we look forward to more than any other at Ocean Life Education – when collectively as a nation, we take the opportunity to pay homage to the sea.

SeaWeek is Australia’s major public awareness campaign centred around our oceans – a chance to turn our attention on what the water does for us and what we in turn can do for it.

This year’s theme was ‘The Ocean made Earth Habitable’, focusing on how the majority of oxygen in our atmosphere has been produced by microscopic sea creatures during photosynthesis.  Thanks to their contribution over thousands of years, life on land was able to develop.

And the impact is still ongoing today – with more than 70 percent of the planet covered in water, it plays a major role in many aspects of our daily lives.

Australia has one of the largest ocean territories in the world – it drives our climate and weather and provides valuable resources. Marine animals and plants are found in medicines that are used to fight cancer, arthritis and heart disease.

On average, we each consume around 25 kilograms of seafood every year, harvesting more than 150, 000 tonnes of fish annually.

Eighty-five percent of Australians live within 50 kilometres of our vast shoreline – drawn to the water not only for food but fun as well. We have 10,000 beaches spread around our 50,000 kilometres of coast and almost 3 million of us own a boat allowing us to explore beyond the shallows.

But as we become more globally aware of climate change and the impact our modern lifestyle is having on the oceans, it’s time for us to breathe new life into the part of our planet that made all of this possible in the first place.

Ocean Life Education is dedicated to promoting the preservation of our marine environment.  Our Human Impact Program takes a close look at the effect we have on the world’s waterways and, most importantly, how we can make a change for the better to sustain our seas for generations to come.

To find out more and to become part of the solution, visit https://www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/programs/

The Cost of Christmas

“Tis the season for excitement and excess… and while our waist lines and bank balances may bear the brunt of our festive good cheer, the oceans suffer too.

Every year Australians spend more than $16 billion celebrating Christmas (which is almost $1,000 per adult!) – half of that goes on gifts.

The vast majority of presents come shrouded in plastic –  the enemy of all things marine.

In Britain alone, 125,000 tonnes of packaging is purchased at Christmas – multiply that by all the other countries who have also bought into the December consumer frenzy and that’s a whole lot of waste that needs to be dealt with.

When it comes to gifts, ideally we should embrace the idea of experiences over physical items – a ticket to a Marine Biologist for a Day Program run by Ocean Life Education will be remembered long after the holidays have passed!

Likewise, donating to your favourite charity – be it humanitarian or conservation will help improve the balance on this planet.

But if products need to be bought, how the packaging is disposed of becomes paramount – artificial floating debris gets ingested by curious marine life making it the scourge of the sea.

Most plastics and cardboard can be recycled – but not the polystyrene foam often used to protect electronic presents.

The paper the gift comes wrapped in also takes a massive toll on nature – it’s estimated 50,000 trees are harvested every year in Australia just to produce the colourful embellishment that is ripped and discarded within seconds of reaching its recipients.

Paper is a preferable choice to foil but a better option is to use homemade wrapping created from recycled material or reusable presentation boxes.

Batteries too have become a major headache for the environment – 8,000 tonnes of them are thrown away in Australia every year.  Switching to rechargeable options has a third less impact on the planet.

Ocean Life Education has a range of programs that help to inform people of all ages about ways to be more mindful of our footprint on earth – our mobile aquarium can come to you for all sorts of occasions, giving the gift of interacting with our beautiful marine animals.

Being conservation minded in the festive season is not about sucking the joy out of Christmas – it’s about finding a way to celebrate that doesn’t cost the earth it’s future.