Celebrate Marine Biodiversity
- Jewels of the Sea


March 21 to 28, 1999


Johnstone's Golden Coral

The theme for Seaweek’99 is "Celebrate Marine Biodiversity". As biodiversity is a somewhat abstract concept, we have included the secondary theme of "Jewels of the Sea".

In this way we hope to capture some of the feelings that many of us have about the astounding diversity of marine life that is found in the waters that surround our island continent.

Biodiversity is an excellent theme to bring to the attention of schools and community education groups. This theme will be approached in many ways and Seaweek’99 activities will focus on the meaning of biodiversity and its significance. Seaweek groups will be involved in developing strategies for exploring and celebrating marine biodiversity at a local regional and national level and working towards improving overall awareness of its importance.

Projects on a local level will involve participants in exploring biodiversity in their ‘own backyards’ and engaging in activities to promote the conservation and sustainable use of these precious resources, as well as making contributions to broadening our perspective’s on biodiversity on a national level.

Seaweek’99 Events - March 21 to 28

MESA has a well established tradition of conducting Seaweek events around Australia and the same will be true in 1999. Despite our late start on Seaweek’99, a great deal seems to be already happening in this area; perhaps an indication of the momentum that Seaweek has built-up over past years.

The voluntary work of MESA members and supporters in every Australian state and territory is one of the major contributions to the success of Seaweek, so well done to all of those involved or about to be involved.

This year Barbara Jensen (of Seaweek’98 fame) will coordinate Seaweek’99 events. Details of state and regional coordinators are now available. Seaweek'99 events will be posted on the MESA web site very soon.

Ornate Cowfish

Educational materials

Tasseled Anglerfish

Seaweek educational materials have traditionally been distributed to schools in kit form. However, we now intend to concentrate our limited resources on different strategies as outlined below.

It is also important to indicate that, for a range of reasons, much of the work to prepare and collate Seaweek’99 educational materials has only just begun. As a result, we intend to launch these materials and programs during Seaweek.

For those MESA members used to receiving materials before Seaweek and running educational programs during Seaweek, this simply means a change in focus.

We want to encourage a philosophy of using the week of Seaweek itself, in this case March 21 to 28, to promote the theme of marine biodiversity in schools and celebrate the theme through Seaweek events. In this way we hope to encourage the use of Seaweek materials and the impact of Seaweek programs well beyond the single ‘week’ Seaweek.

  • Seaweek’99 will be promoted nationally with a colour brochure/poster that should be received in all Australian schools during Seaweek. The aim of this brochure/poster is to stimulate interest and to deliver a clear and concise message about Seaweek’99 to as many teachers as is possible. The Seaweek’99 brochure/poster will also be distributed by regional coordinators.
  • Educational material that focus on the marine biodiversity theme are currently being prepared by MESA but won’t be available until late March. All MESA members will receive these materials via a special edition of the newsletter Undercurrents during Seaweek. These materials may also be available at a nominal cost (to cover printing, postage and handling) to non-MESA members and free of charge via the Seaweek’99 pages on this site.
  • In the past, Seaweek kits have also contained posters and other items provided by a range of supporting organisations. We are currently working on compiling a ‘selective’ package of materials that relate to the marine biodiversity theme and this package will be sent to all MESA members as part of the Undercurrents Seaweek’99 Special.
  • Other Seaweek’99 projects with an educational flavour include a major arts project, educational newspaper features and the Seaweek’99 web site. Two of these projects, the arts project and web site, represent our desire to take Seaweek beyond a single week of activity and to encourage teachers to build the marine biodiversity theme into school programs over the remainder of 1999.
  • Another longer term Seaweek’99 project, one that would involve students around Australia in a web site design project with the "Jewels of the Sea" theme, is currently being developed so stay tuned.

Arts Project

One exciting and new element of Seaweek’99 is the development of an educational component that has an arts focus. In this project, called Celebrating Australia’s Marine Biodiversity, schools from all Australian states will be invited to contribute to the project that aims to produce a ceramic mural that celebrates Australian Marine Biodiversity.

The project will be launched during Seaweek and promoted via the brochure/poster described above and on the Seaweek’99 pages of the MESA web site. Participating schools will be asked to research elements of marine biodiversity in their local region then select icons to represent the spatial and seasonal elements of Australia’s marine biodiversity.

Mosaic with a marine theme

These images will then be collated and compiled by the artist coordinating the project. In this way the collective efforts of a wide range of schools will be used to build a broad picture of Australia’s marine biodiversity.

If all goes to plan, these images of Australia’s marine life created by Australian school students will then transferred to ceramic or paving tiles to produce a feature wall or walkway as part of a landscaping or structural project for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Newspaper features

Striped Pyjama Squid

As far as passing the Seaweek message onto a broader audience is concerned, we planned for the dissemination of information about Seaweek’99 and Australia’s marine biodiversity via special features published in national and local newspapers.

Barbara Jensen and regional Seaweek’99 coordinators were responsible for negotiation with national and local newspapers for publication of this feature during Seaweek’99.

The content of the broadsheets would follow the same general format but may have subtle local variations. The one key element of content will focus on explaining marine biodiversity and the importance of maintaining biodiversity. The second key element of content will focus on a range of simple educational activities. As a result the broadsheets will be promoted as educational features.

Thanks to the Marine Discovery Centre, Queenscliff for permission to use these images taken from their poster 'An ABC of Cool Water Wonders'.

Website design and construction by Peter Biro

Last updated Oct 2000
© MESA 1999 - 2000