Since the 3rd March, the OCCI team on the NSW Central Coast have been sharing their knowledge and passion for the coast with participants of their 'Project Aware on the Coast' course. As a celebration at the end of the course, an awards night was held last week celebrating the efforts of the 23 participants who have completed the course and contributed to health of the local coastal environment.
This is a report from Linda Roberts, one of the course coordinators.
The awards evening was awesome. Many of our participants made short reports on the work they had done and more than one had us in tears at the misery the pollution they are finding causes them. One girl described her anguish when she reflected back on the fact that her beach trophies were sea shells whilst her son is now collecting rubbish!
The second day out on the Hawkesbury River by the Data Dimensions crew was for a clean up around Cowan Creek. With the help of the Macmasters Beach Surf Club and coordinator Jono, the task for the day was to remove unwanted litter from the isolated deserted beaches in the lower Hawkesbury River and Cowan Creek
After meeting at Brooklyn Marina at 9.30am the team received their gear and briefing for the day's mission. Three IRBs transported the groups into the Lower Hawkesbury with all beaches presenting minor litter issues. An old gas bottle was found at Gunya Beach, Dead Horse Bay had excess camping litter, Porto Bay headland had glass bottles, Eleanor had some disused oyster products.The Cowan beaches were relatively clean, into Jerusalem Bay pockets of plastic were retrieved from the rocks, several old fish traps were removed.
A great day out on the Hawkesbury River for another clean up along the river's foreshore was had by the team from Data Dimensions, local oyster growers and Macmasters SLSC volunteers.
Targeting the Hawkesbury River, Sandbrook Channel and Long Island, coordinator Graham Johnston, met the team at Brooklyn Marina where they were given a project brief, geared up and headed out on Moxton's barge and the two surf club IRBs for the trip over to Sandbrook Channel.
Favourable high tides enabled the groups to reach the foreshore, with litter quickly filling the large barge. The group worked enthusiastically, gathering over 50 bags of mixed litter. Three tyres were also removed.
Larger items included, painted timber flooring, milk crates, plastic sheeting, blue tarps, plastic fuel tanks, large pieces of foam, masses of plastic bottles and small foam pieces and twenty tennis balls.
30 participants signed up for the Newcastle Project Aware on the Coast course run by Ocean & Coastal Care Initiatives (OCCI) Lake Macquarie / Newcastle volunteers, and sponsored by Hunter-Central Rivers CMA - through a Caring for our Country Marine Debris Project grant. Most of the participants are university students which was a fantastic opportunity to engage some younger people, as well as a range of other ages too!
We had a marine debris training session with participants at Horseshoe Beach in Newcastle on 6th April and with today's event the 4 week course is almost finished.
Hawkesbury River, Bar Island, Bar Point, Parramatta Wreck and Long Island were targeted for the 8th April cleanup activities for the Hawkesbury River Foreshore Cleanup Program run by Graham Johnston.
This day was all about bulk debris removal with the assistance of 20 volunteers from The Glen (Aboriginal Men's Health Centre) and support from The Hawkesbury River Oyster Growers Association with Moxham's Oyster Barge on hand for the transport of the debris collected.
This was the first time this group has participated in the cleanup program, and they had their work cut out for them with more than 2.5 tonnes of debris to be removed from the mangrove river system.