Roadshow spotlights iconic marine animals
A team of researchers from the University of Adelaide are travelling across South Australia on a marine education roadshow to showcase the importance of First Nations’ Sea Country and marine parks as homes for invaluable species.
The social and marine scientists have dubbed sea eagles, white sharks, sea lions, southern right whales, and cuttlefish the “fab five” iconic and recognisable animals from South Australia’s marine environment. The roadshow helps students learn about and celebrate the connections between the ocean and our communities, including the Commonwealth and state managed marine parks around South Australia.
“South Australia is home to some of the world’s most diverse marine environments, but many people do not realise the wonderful sights that are on our back doorstep. These include areas that are protected by the government as marine parks, with community engagement in these areas sometimes lacking,” says Dr Nina Wootton who is a marine biologist from the University of Adelaide’s School of Biological Sciences.
“By working with schools and tourist operators we hope to bring these underwater wonders into the classroom and improve community awareness of marine park values.”
The first of the workshops will be held at schools in regional South Australia:
- Mount Gambier – Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 June (more dates to come in August)
- Victor Harbor – WhaleFest on Saturday 11 June and Tuesday 19 July (more dates to come in August)
- Port Lincoln – Monday 21 June to Thursday 23 June (more dates to come in August)
- Whyalla – CuttleFest on Friday 15 July (more dates to come in August)
- In August, Kingston South East, Kingscote in Kangaroo Island, Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Elliston, and Ceduna will be visited by the roadshow, as well as Adelaide.
The workshops include an interactive lesson on marine protected areas, Sea Country and the five iconic animals. Students will also take part in an art class to display what they have learnt.
Some of the artworks will form part of a travelling art show which will move around the state. The winning artists will receive prizes and tourist experiences in which they can see some of the species and environments they have learnt about.
“South Australia is home to some of the world’s most diverse marine environments, but many people do not realise the wonderful sights that are on our back doorstep... We hope to bring these underwater wonders into the classroom and improve community awareness of marine park values.” Dr Nina Wootton, Marine Biologist, School of Biological Sciences
“With travel picking up again following the pandemic, it will be great for people to be excited to explore South Australian waters on holidays and spot the five iconic animals, and hopefully help the tourism industry recover from a tough couple of years,” Professor Nursey-Bray says.
The project is funded by the Australian Government through the Our Marine Parks Grants program. It includes engaging with tourist operators, First Nations people and schools to develop online content that highlights these iconic species and the importance of the marine environment.
Dr Nina Wootton, Marine Researcher, Gillanders Aquatic Ecology Lab, School of Biological Sceicnes, The University of Adelaide. Mobile: +61(0)488 748 250. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Melissa Nursey-Bray, Social Scientist, Geography, Environment and Population, The University of Adelaide. Mobile: +61(0)437 738 635. Email: email@example.com
Eleanor Danenberg, Media & Communications Assistant, The University of Adelaide. Mobile: +61 (0)427 346 981. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org