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What happened this year


Seaweek 2008 was celebrated in Tasmania with numerous events and activities for teachers, school students and the general public.

Getting Seaweek underway on Saturday 1st March was a professional development event for teachers organised by Jenni Burdon, of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, and Jeannie Marie Le Roi of the University of Tasmania (both MESA members). 18 teachers participated in a sea tour of the spectacular coast of the Tasman Peninsula, taking in the highest sea cliffs in Australia, sea caves, Tasman Island, elephant seals and many species of sea bird. An expert commentary was provided by marine scientists on board.

Two workshops conducted in the following week allowed teachers to expand on themes touched on the tour. John Hunter, from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, presented a fascinating talk about research into climate change, using a 160-year old sea level marker at Port Arthur in south eastern Tasmania. Sam Ibbott from Marine Solutions discussed marine innovations and the diversity of employment opportunities in the marine industry, from research, to engineering, to boat building and reserve management.

Teachers on board the sea tour

On Tuesday 4th March,19 primary school teachers attended a seminar run by Ros Asten (MESA member) at the Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre. The seminar showcased marine resources available to support classroom marine units, including guest speaker Gordon Bain to demonstrate the Ice Box, a resource package focussed on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Teachers also had the opportunity to meet and learn about live local marine life housed at the Centre.

Our Lady of Lourdes School in Devonport, northern Tasmania ran library readings of the children’s storybook The Three Fishing Brothers Gruff.

Fleur Gedamke of Natural Resource Management South organised a community information evening on Wednesday 5th March entitled ‘Exposing the Bruny Marine Bioregion’ (see attachment). This event started with a tour of the aquaria of the Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre to view live animals of the Bruny Bioregion.

The haulage way on Tasman Island

Attendees were then treated to presentations by Dr Neville Barrett and Dr Graham Edgar, recognised as two of the foremost authorities on the Tasmanian marine environment. This event was fully booked, with over 50 people attending including scientists, teachers, local councillors, fishing industry representatives and local tourist operators, all keen to hear about the highly unique bioregion.

Students from several Tasmanian school participated in making a panel of artwork for the University of Tasmania’s Memorial project. The community exhibition aims to raise awareness of the global extinction rate, and Ros Asten of the Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre arranged for a panel to be dedicated to threatened Tasmanian marine species. Students were invited to contribute a picture of a marine animal or plant from the Tasmanian threatened species list. The completed series of 37 panels will be exhibited across Australia and around the world including the United State of America, and the United Nations.

Oz Projects ran an online ‘Ask an Expert’ forum as part of their Seaweek project. Students from primary schools in several states sent in questions about Tasmanian marine life that were answered by Ros Asten, MESA member.

Part of the Seaweek panel
of the Memorial project

Grade 3/4 students from Woodbridge School spent Friday 7th March at the Marine Discovery Centre to celebrate Seaweek. We learnt about threatened marine species, with students focussing on the connections between marine life and their environment, and the threats caused by some human activities. Students also viewed a MESA webcast from the Melbourne Aquarium about the threatened Grey Nurse Shark.

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