We are extremely proud to announce that the much-anticipated launch of the Marine Mammal Foundation’s Marine Champions program in the July school holidays was a huge success!
The Marine Champions team has been working incredibly hard to develop and deliver our new and unique youth extension program, and it was an absolute pleasure to have so many fantastic young people participate. With programs running in both the Port Phillip and Gippsland Lakes regions across the school holidays, our enthusiastic Marine Champions began their journey with the Marine Mammal Foundation, participating in unique educational workshops and hands-on activities.
With the focus of our July program being litter and sustainability, Marine Champions participated in MMF’s Marine Litter Project. We were taken on the journey of the Burrunan dolphin with Dr Kate, and discovered how litter and waste negatively impacts these amazing animals. We then undertook a beach clean-up and litter audit to investigate the types of litter found within our local environment.
Over 1400 pieces of litter were collected, made up of all litter types including plastic, glass, and cigarette butts. One of our Marine Champions was surprised by “how much pollution we have on our beach”, while another was surprised by “the amount of cigarette butts that are just dropped”. This hands-on opportunity allowed our Marine Champions to discover how litter from their communities directly impacts local beaches.
Through MMF’s Sustainability in a Changing World program, Marine Champions identified the importance of sustainability within our local communities, and how our actions can impact global environments. Working together, Marine Champions discussed sustainable actions being undertaken within their own schools, while also identifying areas where further action can be taken to achieve more sustainable outcomes.
This collaboration allowed our Marine Champions to not only share areas of concern, but develop the strategies, knowledge, and tools with which to undertake positive action within their own schools and communities. From speaking at school assemblies or in their local community groups, to developing sustainability campaigns such as ‘Plastic Free Canteens’, or using art to inspire and educate, our Marine Champions are leaders and ambassadors for positive change ensuring what we do today creates a better tomorrow!
The Marine Champions also learnt how art can be used to spread the message about litter and conservation, each Marine Champion getting creative by making their own art work out of the litter they had collected.
The response from our Marine Champions about the program, and why they wanted to become Marine Champions has been fantastic!
“Science is awesome!” Tommy
“I became a Marine Champion because I have a big passion for the ocean and marine life and I want to save it.” Isabelle
“I wanted to become a Marine Champion because I love the ocean and science!” Jessica
“I became a Marine Champion because I hate plastic, and I want to learn more about marine biology.” Charlie
“I hope to one day become a marine biologist… I want to research the ocean and I thought this would be a good way to kick start that dream!” Jessika
“I am hoping to learn more about our local marine life and how we can use less plastic in our daily lives.” Isabelle
“I was surprised that you could connect art with the ocean and sustainability.” Lily
“Matt and the team were great with the kids and they were able to take part in craft, hands on beach activities and education.” Parent of Marine Champion
“The program is valuable and very enjoyable for the kids.” Parent of Marine Champion
“The children are ambassadors for the cause and will help spread the word to their peers and community as well as having a lot of fun.” Parent of Marine Champion
We are looking forward to working with our Marine Champions in the future and providing them with the support needed to continue undertaking sustainable action within their own schools. Excitingly, we are already hard at work continuing to develop the Marine Champions program for the upcoming September school holidays!
Thank you to all of our Marine Champions for your participation and contribution to making the launch of the Marine Champions program such a success!