National marine debris initiative launches in Sea Week
Mar 08, 2012
Schools are preparing to team up with scientists across Australia as part of a three-year national marine debris research and education program being launched in Sea Week.
TeachWild – developed by Earthwatch Australia, in partnership with CSIRO and Founding Partner Shell – is designed to help Australians understand the extent of the global issue of marine debris and its impacts on Australian wildlife.
Marine debris is largely made up of plastic, glass and fishing nets. It affects more than 270 species of animals worldwide, yet little is known about the full impact of marine debris on wildlife.
Richard Gilmore, Executive Director, Earthwatch Australia says, Earthwatch wanted to support the national survey and saw an opportunity to involve students and teachers in this important work.
“TeachWild provides Australians with the opportunity to learn about the global challenges of marine debris and to take part in hands-on field research,” he says.
The program aims to survey and map the distribution of marine debris, identify major sources of debris and measure the impacts on wildlife. Data collected will contribute to a national marine debris database which highlights the extent of the issue and provides information to improve waste management and better protect marine life.
“Australia has some of world’s most beautiful and remote beaches,” Dr Denise Hardesty of CSIRO says. “Yet I challenge anyone to find any beach in Australia or anywhere in the world that has no rubbish originating from humans.”
Shell in Australia’s Vice President, Health Safety & Environment and Sustainable Development Mike Seymour says Shell’s social investment portfolio focuses on education - including projects that encourage an interest in science and technology - and includes national, state and territory initiatives, as well as activities close to key operations.
“We are really pleased to be supporting TeachWild as part of our national social investment programme. The health of the ocean is such an important issue, and this project has the potential to inspire students in Australia to learn about marine science in a practical and meaningful way.”
Students from Years 6 to 10 will take part in fieldwork and learn about the fundamentals of science, maths, chemistry, oceanography and other topics linked to the national science curriculum.
To find out more about TeachWild, visit teachwild.org.au, or call Earthwatch on 03 9682 6828.
Richard Gilmore, Executive Director, Earthwatch Australia, mobile 0438 389 278
Andy Donnelly, Head of Programs, Earthwatch Australia, mobile 0423 029 956
TeachWild Launch Event
Date: Thursday 8 March, 2012
Location: Indiana Cottesloe Beach, Perth, WA
Time: 10am-12pm (Beach survey from 10.45 with South Fremantle Senior High School)
“I have always been interested in living things and what makes them ‘tick’. It is important for us to work together to preserve precious ecosystems, especially the marine ecosystem. Everything we do revolves around it. I am very excited to get my students involved in TeachWild and helping preserve our oceans.” Stacey Ward, Biology Teacher, All Saints Anglican School.
"It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to work alongside scientists, and to gain a real sense that they are able to contribute in a meaningful way to addressing a significant environmental issue." Jenny Edwards, Environmental Science teacher, Clonard College, Geelong, Victoria.
“South Fremantle Senior High School is extremely excited to be involved in the national launch of TeachWild. Our students are aware of the issue of marine debris and hope to learn much more about its impact on Australian coastlines and wildlife. We are grateful for the opportunity to be involved in such a wonderful initiative.” Craig Smith, Physical Education Marine Teacher, South Fremantle Senior High School, Fremantle, WA.