Sea Search gets underway at Merri Marine Sanctuary
Wednesday 19 February, 2014
On a Friday morning earlier this month, the intertidal platforms of Pickering Point, part of Warrnambool’s unique Merri Marine Sanctuary, came alive with the start of a new era for the Sea Search program. Parks Victoria rangers and members of the Friends of Merri Marine Sanctuary braved a crisp south westerly to re-launch this citizen science program.
Sea Search is a Parks Victoria program that encourages people to get involved and participate in marine data collection and surveillance in Marine Protected Areas such as national parks and sanctuaries. The program offers a range of opportunities for volunteers with varying interests and skill levels.
Parks Victoria ranger James Cordwell says the program highlights the importance of volunteers in modern day society. “At the Sea Search day we had a group of passionate locals who all love their local marine sanctuary. By committing their spare time to programs like Sea Search, they can ensure it’s a beautiful environment not only for themselves now, but for generations to come.
The Sea Search program is based on community involvement, creating a sense of belonging, and reinforcing a sense of ownership. Together these things can achieve great outcomes.”
Sea Search volunteers spend time surveying, documenting and photographing the wide variety of aquatic life that is found on our marine doorstep, in an effort to improve our understanding of natural assets and processes. This also helps with early detection of change and identification of threats, such as invasive species.
Friends member Mel Wells was very impressed with the success of Sea Search. “It was fantastic to have five volunteers help re-launch Sea Search in the Merri Marine Sanctuary. As a group we’re now planning to carry on this monitoring program with the support of Parks Victoria and other community members.”
Ranger Hannah Moloney was also pleased with the support for the program. “It was great to have the Friends of Merri Marine Sanctuary, Parks Victoria and local people all working together to gain a better understanding of our marine environment. Everyone walked away with a really positive feeling that they had contributed to the management of their beautiful marine sanctuary.”
Sea Search runs regularly throughout the year. For more information about the program and future activities, visit the Get involved section on this website or go to the Friends of Merri Marine Sanctuary Facebook Page.
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