The Marine Mammal Foundation is pleased to announce
the one year anniversary of our Marine Champions Program!
Marine Champions is a youth engagement program designed for young people who are passionate about marine mammals, conservation and the environment.
What We HAVE BEEN UP TO…
July 2018 – Sustainability
We started off our Marine Champions Program with the growing topic of sustainability. Focusing on plastic pollution, our Marine Champions took part in the MMF’s Bin Not Bay and Litter Free Lakes workshops, learnt all about Victoria’s marine mammals and the Burrunan dolphin, and what we can do to help protect our watery backyard. We also worked together to start developing our Sustainable Schools pack, created by our Marine Champions themselves! Following on from our workshops we conducted a beach clean-up on the nearby beaches, to discover the types of litter impacting our local environments. We then explored the role of art in conservation, by making our own artworks out of the plastic we had collected!
September 2018 – Marine Science
Our September holiday program was all about marine science, where we learnt about marine ecosystems and the unique world that lives below and above the surface! We also looked at communication around sustainability and how the Marine Champions can best implement the Sustainable Schools guide, that they had developed in July, in their own schools. Following on from our workshops we went out in the field on a rockpool ramble at Ricketts Point to discover the marine life living amongst the rocky shores. In the Gippsland Lakes, we did the beautiful Entrance Walk, where we were lucky to spot Burrunan dolphins surfing in the waves!
Summer 2018/2019 – Fun in the sun
A lot of fun was had over the summer! We kicked off the warm weather with our Marine Champions Christmas party; jam packed full of food, fun and games. We also explored the Lakes by stand-up paddle boards, enjoyed a day walk through the historic Point Nepean National Park, and had a screening of the film Storm Boy in Gippsland Lakes. The highlight of our summer program was the opportunity to bring our Port Phillip Bay and Gippsland Lakes Marine Champions together for the first time, on an exciting tour of the Melbourne Museum where we were able to go behind the scenes and explore the museum’s private collection!
April 2019 – Field surveys
Our April school holiday program gave the Marine Champions a taste of the varied and broad citizen science programs available within their own local communities. We took part in the 2019 Great Pelican Count in Gippsland Lakes and got up close with the little penguins at St. Kilda Pier. Excitingly, we were able to finish off the holiday program out on the water, with boat excursions in both Port Phillip Bay and the Gippsland Lakes! We were lucky enough to encounter the incredible Burrunan dolphins, along with playful Australian fur seals!
July 2019 – Conservation in Action
Marine Champions turns 1!! Through our most recent school holiday program we explored the theme of conservation, why it is needed, how conservation initiatives are implemented and what action is happening in our own community. In the Gippsland Lakes, our Marine Champions explored a conservation case study and watched ‘Secrets at Sunrise’; a documentary focusing on the endangered Western Ground Parrot and the conservation action in place to protect it. Our ‘Conservation in Action’ theme also provided another fantastic opportunity to reconnect our Gippsland Lakes and Port Phillip Bay Marine Champions as we had an amazing day exploring the Melbourne Zoo, talking with Zoo keepers and learning about the conservation programs run by Zoos Victoria!
The Marine Champions program has had an amazing first year; with a variety of exciting opportunities, sessions and activities. We have enjoyed building and delivering our Marine Champions program over the past 12 months, and it has now become a major part of the Marine Mammal Foundation.
The program itself however, could not be run without the passion, enthusiasm and knowledge of each of our incredible Marine Champions – it has been an absolute joy and privilege to get to know each one of you, and we could not have achieved all of the amazing things we have without the support of yourself and your families. We cannot wait to see what the next year brings!