Tag Archives: ocean

Should We Protect Sharks?

 

Should we protect sharks? We think so! We hear so many negative stories about sharks in the media but what role do they actually play in the ocean and why are they important to us?

The fact is that sharks are a crucial part of the food chain and help keep the oceans, planet (and us), healthy… and their numbers are dwindling fast.

Read on to discover why we need sharks and why we need to take action to protect these misunderstood creatures…

Sharks Get a Bad Press 

shark cullMany people fear sharks because of sensationalised stories in the media and scary films like Jaws.

The fact is that 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year and sharks kill around 12 humans a year.

So, maybe sharks should be scared of us, not the other way around?

Learn the Facts About Sharks

 

 

We need to take time to learn the facts about sharks and why they are so important to us and our world, so that we can help protect them. So, we have developed a range of FREE shark resources and an online Amazing Sharks Course aimed at dispelling the myths and promoting the facts about these misunderstood creatures.

 

 

Here are some REAL FACTS about Sharks…

 

Sharks Help Create a Healthy Ecosystem

shark ecosystemSharks are APEX predators, which means they sit at the top of the food chain and help control the numbers of animals below them in that food chain. By controlling populations of large and mid-sized predators, sharks allow smaller fish to thrive, which has a knock on effect on the food chain below them. Therefore, sharks help create a healthy ecosystem with a diverse range of species and competitors.

 

 

Sharks Are a Keystone Species

Apex predators like sharks are known as keystone species. This means that they are crucially important. If you take sharks out of the food chain, the whole structure could collapse.

Sharks & Natural Selection

sharks & natural selection

Sharks play an important role in natural selection because they prey on and remove weak and sick animals. This reduces the chances of them reproducing and helps keep fish populations healthy and strong.

 

 

Sharks & Habitat Loss

reef sharkSharks help prevent habitat loss. Habitats like coral reef depend on their fishy caretakers, like the little reef fish that live on them and clean and protect them from disease. Without sharks controlling numbers of big fish in a marine ecosystem, the numbers of these fish could explode. They would in turn kill off the smaller fish. If that happens, the reef would become diseased and die off, affecting millions of animals that depend on it for survival.

 

 

Everything On Earth is Connected

blue planet earthThe earth’s ocean produces 70 % of the oxygen we breath, food to eat, controls the climate, breaks down pollution, provides us with medicine and much, much more.

Humans are part of our amazing planet’s ecosystem. So, it is in our best interest to protect our home environment and everything within it…including sharks.

 

Want to Know more?

Watch our video: Why We Need Sharks

Read Our Blog: How to Engage Kids with Sharks

 

How You Can Help Protect Sharks

Check out Ocean Life Education’s other blogs:

How to Inspire Kids to Protect the Ocean

Reasons Why We Depend on Our Oceans

How Can I Protect the Ocean

 

shark cullCheck out the latest film ‘Shark Cull’ for some interesting views about shark safety programs off Australia’s East Coast 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

How to Celebrate SeaWeek Australia

What is SeaWeek Australia?

SeaWeek Australia is an annual celebration of the sea. It is a major public awareness campaign which aims to educate and encourage appreciation of the sea. For us at Ocean Life Education, SeaWeek Australia is the busiest time of the year and a great opportunity to further increase school and community focus on the deeply woven relationship we have with our majestic ocean and how our survival is underpinned by the health of our oceans.

Check out the foot of our blog for ideas of how you can celebrate SeaWeek.

SeaWeek 2020, 12-18 September

SeaWeek 2020 focused on the theme that “The Ocean Supports A Great Diversity of Life and Ecosystems”.

Our oceans support most life on earth. As over 70% of the Earth’s surface is underwater, it comes as no surprise that marine species outnumber those on land – an incredible 94 per cent of the Earth’s living species exist within the oceans.

Being an enormous island, Australia has one of the largest ocean territories in the world. Australian Oceans support an immense diversity of life and ecosystems. From the warm waters of tropical Queensland, to the cool Tasman Sea, a staggering range of animals, plants and other life forms call our oceans their home.

And it is not just marine life that is supported by the ocean, we humans depend on our oceans too! On average, we each consume around 25 kilograms of seafood every year, so we rely on it for our food and for economic benefit and jobs. If that’s not enough, we also rely on the ocean for: oxygen, carbon dioxide absorption, climate regulation, breakdown and removal of waste, marine transportation, medicine, tourism, recreation, and fun. The list goes on!

Check out our Blog  ‘Ten Reasons Why We Depend on Our Oceans’ for more details.

When is SeaWeek Australia 2021?

SeaWeek Australia 2021 is planned for 6 – 14 March 2021.

How Can Schools Celebrate Seaweek 2021?

We have lots of ideas for School events and activities to help schools celebrate SeaWeek 2011 in may ways. We are increasing our website resources all the time, so keep checking our Primary and Resources pages. Or why not book one of our interactive Programs to give the kids a real hands-on experience of marine creatures!
Here are some great ideas to get you started…

*Decorate your classroom or childcare setting
*Plastic free class challenge – no plastic in lunch boxes for a day/ week
*Record class plastic usage for a day – pledge to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle
*Book an ocean-focused incursion or excursion
*Organize a beach clean (& BBQ?) or visit a local beach

*Host an ocean themed coloring or drawing competition
*Fundraise to support a local coast care charity e.g. Coolum Coast Care, Ocean Crusaders, Sea Shepherd

 SeaWeek 2021 is hosted by the AAEE (Australian Association for Environmental Education). If you are planning to run a SeaWeek event, competition, or activity, they’d love to promote it! Email: seaweek@aaee.org.au for more information.

 

 

Ocean Life Education

Ocean Life Education is dedicated to promoting the preservation of our marine environment to communities and schools.  We spend SeaWeek Australia visiting Early Learning Centres and Schools and hosting events throughout Queensland and NSW. Our programs are delivered by qualified Marine Educators with a passion for the ocean. They provide a lively, fun, and interactive experience with our live marine animals. We believe education is the key to inspiring schools and community to protect our oceans.

To join our community of Ocean Legends and become part of the solution, follow us:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/OceanLifeEducation/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ocean_life_education/

How Can I Protect the Ocean?

Scientific research has concluded that we need to protect 30% of our blue planet by 2030 in order to safeguard the health of marine life and habitats. Yes, we need to put pressure on governments to take action and change policy but we can all do our bit to make a difference. In fact, working together we can all make a huge difference.

“Our actions over the next 10 years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years.” Dr.Sylvia Earle, Marine Biologist & Conservationist

 

How you can take action to protect the ocean locally and internationally…

 

Local action to protect the ocean

 

  • Reduce your use of plastics: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Reduce your carbon footprint and energy consumption: use public transport and turn off unnecessary appliances
  • Make sustainable seafood choices: check the label – is it ocean friendly?
  • Help take care of the beach: volunteer with an organisation such as Coolum Coast Care or simply pick up debris as you walk
  • Travel the ocean responsibly: be mindful of wildlife and never throw anything overboard
  • Campaign for change: support local campaign groups such as Coolum Coast Care and Great Barrier Reef Foundation to protect and rebuild marine areas
  • Educate yourself and your friends about oceans and marine life: the more you know, the more you’ll want to help ensure the health of the ocean – then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.
Check out our program Marine Biologist for a Day 

International action to protect the ocean

Sign this petition telling world leaders that you want action to protect our oceans now!