MESA was a tremendous ship to sail. While working for with them I met marine enthusiasts and experts from all over Australia and, indeed, the world. As a matter of business I needed to speak to them about the most mundane administrative matters which often blossomed into fascinating discussions about adventures of the sea.
As a result overseas visitors would ask me for guidance about who and where to visit when they came to Australia. I recall fondly Dr Hugo Freudenthal and his wife, Anita, who came to dinner at our house. Hugo, it turned out, was the gentleman who described zoothanthellae in corals and by the way just happened to design the waste system for the USA space program - can you believe it? Anita too had been named Marine Educator of the year in the US. This was just one of the many amazing experiences I was privileged to have while working in MESA.
My job at Coast Action/Coastcare had taken me out of the water a bit and the next step took me further upstream. It had become obvious to me that a heck of a lot of problems come from the land to the sea - urban stormwater pollution. Urban stormwater drains are responsible for the excellent removal of water from streets and properties and yet the impervious surfaces do not have natural mechanisms to treat or filter the pollution that accompany that flushing function - toxicants, pathogens, sediments, and litter.
Can you guess that my next (and current) job in the Environment Protection Authority is with the Victorian Stormwater Action Program (VSAP). Again I found myself in grants but this time the program is on a more pervasive/persuasive level. VSAP was put into place for local government councils across the entire state to begin a cultural shift and to encourage them to develop urban stormwater management plans. These plans were designed to improve stormwater quality entering the receiving waters and eventually the sea. Yup! This is where I was needed most in order to help people learn how to help the ocean.
As a spin-off from my voluntary work with community and other activities on behalf of the environment and I published or contribute to a variety of publications, spoke several times on the radio and found myself as a subject included in about 3 video publications and occasionally on TV. I co-wrote a professional development unit on Art and Marine Education which I subsequently took to the schools in two very large demonstration projects. I've convened and spoken at marine education conferences. All of these things resulting from my love of the sea and kids.
I started with a dream of having every child in Melbourne having the opportunity to find out about the exciting world below the looking-glass surface of the Bay. That is pretty much a reality now. So my dream got bigger. I now dream of cultural shift in thinking of community and government that means adopting environmental responsibility as part our own identity - who we are and what we stand for. It's already in process and I look forward to the day I can say we've made it.
The pebble that has started is gaining momentum with more and more jobs already beginning to become available. My advice for people wanting a job is decide what you want and start telling people what it is. If you can't find the job you want just keep focused, make a wish list, talk to everyone you know (inquire don't demand), think laterally and after a lot of hard work the job is bound to find you.