Beach conservation begins with beach ecology program for Marcoola Nippers
The Marcoola Beach Surf Lifesaving Club’s Nippers recently participated in beach ecology education as part of Surf Life Saving Australia’s junior activities.
This novel initiative, supported by Yaroomba Beach, was delivered by local marine ecologists Prof Thomas Schlacher, Dr Christopher Henderson and Mr Jesse Mossman. This team has led the way in conducting world-first research on surf and beach conservation along our coast.
Dr Schlacher said sandy beaches underpin much of the regional economy and are irreplaceable assets for all local communities.
“Beaches are also ecosystems and ecosystems need to be used carefully and their key features must be protected.”
“The Surf lifesaving community are true champions of the beach and ‘work’ there for the benefit of us all. Our program seeks to bring new awareness about beach systems and we have started with some basics: how beaches are formed, what hydrodynamic processes are most important and what biodiversity of fishes inhabit the region’s surf zones”.
“For our research work we developed a simple yet effective camera system that can withstand the pounding of the surf. We let the kids deploy a few of those in the surf and they were truly amazed by the variety of fish they could see. It was really nice to see (and hear!) so much excitement”.
“It really brought home the fact that we all operate in a small section at the edge of the beach ecosystem and hopefully participating in this program has planted a seed about creating awareness towards beach conservation,” Dr Schlacher said.
Marcoola Surf Club Junior Activities President Amanda Janssen said the club’s Under 8’s through to Under 13’s nippers participated in the program and the feedback was very positive.
“Being a nipper is more than beach safety, we want our members to learn from an early age the importance of the whole beach environment which includes the beach system, marine life and the natural environment.
“Interest in our club’s nippers program is on the rise, we’ve seen a 50% increase in participation over the past few years and I am sure programs like this helps to attract more families to our club.
“Sekisui House and Prof Schlacher’s team should be commended for this program, and I am confident that this will now become a regular event,” Amanda said.
Sekisui House Project Director Evan Aldridge said the developer has partnered with the Marcoola Surf Lifesaving Club since 2016.
“We’ve formed a really positive relationship with the members of the Marcoola Surf Lifesaving club and our support over the years has assisted the club in providing an essential community service in keeping our beaches safe. This new program has placed the importance of conservation of our beaches on the radar,” he said.