What happened this year

Western Australia
Michael Burke, MESA VP

Western Australians celebrated Seaweek 2008 in a variety of ways, starting with a very successful Seaweek Educators Expo on Friday 29th February and culminating with a Geographe Bay marine forum held in Busselton.

Seaweek Educators Expo

The 2008 Seaweek Educators’ Expo was again hosted by the Department of Fisheries at the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre, Hillarys Boat Harbour. This year’s Expo saw primary, secondary and tertiary educators and education students register for the event, along with a number of staff from various NRM agencies. The Educators’ Expo was supported by Padbury SHS, Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) – Nearer to Nature, Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI) - Marine Safety, WA Museum, AQWA, Rottnest Island Authority and The Fishing School.

Participants were involved in a wide range of marine education activities, with the theme of Extinction – A Saw Point being the overarching theme for the day. Event organiser Michael Burke, from the Department of Fisheries, welcomed delegates to the Expo and the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre and outlined the day’s theme and activities.

Participants were very fortunate to have Dr Dean Thorburn deliver the opening presentation. Dr Thorburn presented an overview of the status of sawfish in western Australia, based largely on the research that he has undertaken in association with Murdoch University. This was an excellent way to start the Expo, with participants gaining a first-hand insight into the biology and ecology of sawfish and how the local indigenous community is assisting in the ongoing research and

Seaweek Educators Expo

A range of interactive workshops followed, with people either heading out snorkelling, along the beach to a local reef or into marine research laboratories. Participants chose from activities such as a tour of the Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA); snorkelling and inter-tidal exploration complete with expert interpretation from a marine biologist; a touch pool and classification activity with experts from DEC and the WA Museum; and a hands-on fisheries research experience that involved sampling coastal waters using a seine net.

Once all delegates returned from their morning workshops, they were treated to a fish filleting and cooking demonstration – of course, everybody got to taste the fish at the end of the demo! Everybody then enjoyed a sausage sizzle lunch out on the Discovery Centre balcony, before the afternoon workshops.

The afternoon workshops were presented in concurrent sessions. Participants had the choice of presentations from the ‘Climate Change Crisis’ with the Rottnest Island Authority, ‘Fabulous Features’ with AQWA, and ‘Bare Bones Fisheries Science’ with the Department of Fisheries.

The day concluded with delegates and presenters being presented with a certificate of participation. Event organiser, Michael Burke, was very pleased with the success of the 2008 Seaweek Educators’ Expo.

“Dean Thorburn really set the scene for a great day. His presentation on sawfish and the threats that they face inspired everyone to not only learn more about the marine environment and the endangered species that live there, but also how to best deliver these educational messages. This year also attracted a registrations from people outside of the formal education network – an indication that education is an important part of marine natural resource management.

Michael also felt it was very important that supporters of the Expo were recognised. “Without the support from the presenters and sponsors, the day would not have been as successful as it was. A lot of time and effort from a group of dedicated people went into making this an outstanding event and I would like to thank them all”.

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