Education and Interpretation for Victoria's
Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries
Education and Interpretation Programs in Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries
One of the principles for establishing Victoria's Marine National Parks system is to provide opportunities for education and interpretation. Education is clearly a powerful tool to assist in the engagement of communities with the new protected areas and develop a sense of stewardship for them.
"Education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address environment and development issues. It is critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development and for effective public participation in decision-making" (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development 1992)
In many parts of the world marine and coastal environments have suffered from the consequences of people's lack of knowledge and appreciation of these environments, poor understanding of human impacts on the sea, attitudes which do not value marine environments highly, and inaction in addressing issues of habitat loss and consequent loss of biodiversity. The consequences of this are continuing environmental degradation and loss of natural and cultural values.
The long term acceptance, adoption and protection of a Marine National Park system will however ultimately depends on an informed community that:
- recognises the values of the marine national parks and sanctuaries
- has attitudes that support the long term protection of these environments
- has the skills and willingness to take action to protect and maintain the values of these environments.
Although the coast has long been the favourite relaxation and recreation place for Victorians, their knowledge and understanding of the marine environment, and its relationship to the land, remain relatively low. While interest in the marine environment is growing, active programs for community education and engagement are vital in ensuring the long-term protection of Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries.
The long-term protection of Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries will be achieved with engaged, well-informed and aware communities working with managers and acting as custodians and ambassadors for the marine environment.
Conservation of kelp communities such as this
Bull Kelp requires understanding of their values.
Marine Education programs are critical for gaining community suport for protecting these areas
(Photo: Bill Boyle / Courtesy: Parks Victoria)
Next - Education: Principles for a well informed and supportive community