- Jewels of the Sea
21 to 28, 1999
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.
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
to the Marine Discovery Centre, Queenscliff for permission to use
these images taken from their poster 'An ABC of Cool Water Wonders'.
design and construction by Peter
Last updated Oct 2000
© MESA 1999