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  Seaweek 2001    

Ocean Culture - People and the Sea
11-18 March, 2001

Activity 1: Design your own marine park!

Aim: To provide an awareness of the park system in the Northern Territory with a specific focus on marine parks, and to better understand the issues involved in planning a marine park.

The group will be able to:

  • ·Discuss why we have parks and reserves
  • Understand the different types of parks and reserves
  • Discuss the different user groups that utilise parks
  • Discuss zoning of parks
  • Have the opportunity to design their own marine park and take the rest of the group on a guided tour and explain the features of their park

Level: This activity can be adapted to all age groups, however this activity has been written in mind for primary age students and has already been trialed at the upper primary level with success.

Length: One and a half-hours

Equipment required

· Whiteboard/pen/eraser
· Map of Cobourg Marine Park
· Cobourg Marine Park Management Plan
· Cardboard (firm) or polystyrene (the latter can be sourced from supermarkets free of charge). This will be the base of the park.
· Fabric paints or general paints, these can be used to paint streams/roads
· Cotton wool, this could be used to make crocodile or turtle eggs in a nest or for the tops of trees which can then be painted over
· Air drying clay, to model rangers, visitors, termite mounds, rocks, animals, plants
· Ruler or fishing line to cut the clay with
· Variety of cloth material, this could be used to show where the water is or other natural features
· Small native and feral animals, to show what animals live in the park
· Sand for the beach areas
· Glue
· Sticky tape
· Scissors
· Variety of coloured foam, for example to make ranger stations, visitor centres or natural features out of
· Newspaper to catch all the glue, paint and other bits and pieces!

The above are examples of what has been used on past activities, the more items provided the more the group can use their imagination to create their works of art.

Explain that this month is a very special month, as it's Seaweek! This is a time when people around Australia focus on the sea. Seaweek is organised by the Marine Education Society of Australasia (MESA) - a group of people who are committed to helping people learn more about the sea and how we can care for it. This year the theme for Seaweek is Ocean Culture - People and the Sea.

Ask the group what they feel the word 'culture" means, spend some time discussing this.

Explain what the group will be doing in the activity.

Pre-activity discussion

  • Ask the group to think about their favourite park or reserve and to think about why they enjoyed visiting that particular area.

Divide the whiteboard into four parts. In the first section make a list of the names of the parks and reserves they provide you with. Spend some time discussing each of the children's choices.

For example:

Litchfield National Park: swimming at Buley rock hole
Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve: bird-watching
Charles Darwin National Park: bike riding
Howard Springs Nature Park: watching the fish and the turtles in the weir

  • The next step is to ask the group about some of the activities that people can do in parks and reserves. This should be easy to do as they have previously told you why they enjoyed visiting particular areas.

Make a list of the activities in the second section on the whiteboard. You will find that you can group the many activities into broader categories such as "recreation" including picnicking, "cultural" including visiting Rock Art sites and historical locations, "special interests", including sightseeing, photography, painting and bird-watching.

  • Now ask the group to go back to the first section on the whiteboard. Ask them to look at the last two words of their favoured parks and reserves. Who can notice what the differences are?

The difference is in the name of the park or reserve. Some are called National Parks, some Conservation Reserves, others Nature Park, Historical Reserves and Marine Parks.

Discuss why there are differences in the names between parks and reserves:

National Parks are relatively large areas of unspoilt landscape, which are managed so that their natural features are protected and preserved.

Nature Reserves are smaller, natural areas set aside for public recreation and enjoyment.

Marine Parks are sections of the coast, and the underlying seabed containing flora and fauna and natural features of significance.

Conservation Reserves are established specifically to protect significant natural features, rare plants or animals.

Historic Reserves are established to protect historic sites, as well as buildings and objects associated with them.

  • Indicate that the group will be looking at marine parks in this activity.

In the Northern Territory we have 93 parks and reserves covering 3.20% of the Northern Territory's land surface. Of these mostly terrestrial (land based) parks a number of them include associated marine elements within their intertidal and estuarine sections. Such parks include Casuarina Coastal Reserve and Berry Springs Nature Park.

The Northern Territory currently has a single marine park, Cobourg Marine Park including the adjacent intertidal portions of Gurig National Park. Cobourg holds the special honour of being one of the two first protected areas in the Territory, the other park was Palm Valley in 1924. The newly proposed Beagle Marine Park will provide a second marine park. Show the group the map of the park.

Discuss the reasons for having marine parks:

  • protect samples of each of our major marine habitats from the direct impact of development
  • protect marine plant and animal life
  • offer opportunities for visitors to observe marine animals
  • provide areas for scientific research
  • protect breeding habitats

Discuss the different zones that occur at Cobourg Marine Park:

Discuss why the park has different zones.

Zoning provides a way of regulating activities and developments within the Park so that human uses of the Park are compatible with the overall need to conserve the natural values of the area.

* Multiple Use A Zone
In this zone you can carry out recreational activities, commercial and recreational fishing, traditional hunting and fishing, anchor boats

* Multiple Use B Zone
In this zone you can carry out recreational activities, commercial and recreational fishing but no netting, trawling or aquarium fishing is allowed. Traditional hunting and fishing and anchoring your boat is allowed.

* Port Essington Zone
Approved recreational activities, commercial and recreational fishing but no netting, trawling, crab potting, hand harvesting or aquarium fishing. Traditional hunting and fishing and anchoring your boat are allowed.

* Conservation Zone
This area is for the protection of the natural resources of the area and the maintenance of biodiversity. No traditional hunting or fishing takes place here.

* Outstation Buffer Zone
Protection of the natural resources of the area and for the protection of the interests and privacy of the traditional owners. Vessels cannot anchor or fish within this zone.

* Scientific Reference Zone
Protects areas of significant conservation value and of scientific interest. To access these areas will require a permit.

* Coral Bay Buffer Zone
Protects the natural resources of the area while providing a buffer around the resort at Coral Bay. Access is limited to authorised personnel and resort guests.

Show the group a copy of the management plan for Cobourg Marine Park. Explain that once an area becomes a park a management plan is drawn up for it. Ask them to guess what might be contained in the management plan. This will include flora and fauna lists, the zones, historical and cultural information maps and so forth. Rangers use the management plan to help them manage the park.

· Discuss the different groups of people who may visit the park and what they hope to experience by visiting the park. This may include people who want to fish, scuba-dive, snorkel, go walking, bird watching, take nature photographs, film crews and so forth. Spend some time discussing which zones they can carry out their activities in. What would happen if some of these user groups were not catered for such as the people who wished to fish? What could be a reason for not allowing fishing at the park? Where could these people go instead?

Marine Park Design

· Now the group has the opportunity to design their own marine park for the Territory.

They will need to be able to take the rest of the group on a guided tour of their park and explain what activities you can do in the park, what user groups the park caters for and what zones if any there are.

After the group has finished making their park they can explain to the rest of the group about the name of their park, the types of flora and fauna that can be found in their park, what activities you can do there, the types of zones they have made up and the people that can use the park.

If there is not enough time to go around the whole group then children can give the person next to them their guided tour and vice versa.

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