Blog

Posted on 13/04/2018 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Happy Citizen Science Day!

April 14 is a day to celebrate our Citizen Scientists - individuals like you and me who contribute to scientific research in a number of ways, including volunteering. Here's one such example:

In July 2017, Phillip Island Nature Parks supported the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP’s) Biodiversity on Ground Action to tackle the ever growing problem of human produced marine debris through the volunteer led ‘Turn the Tide’ program. Each year, there is an estimated average of 8 million tonnes of plastic entering our oceans. Scientists across the globe are beginning to record the impacts our plastics are having on our ocean life, including right here on Phillip Island where marine debris has been found entangling Australian fur seals and little penguins, as well as in the stomachs of short tailed shearwaters birds.

Marine biologists, environmental educators, tour guides and passionate people within the community are seeing the impacts of marine debris, and have been volunteering their time to collect debris off Phillip Island’s beaches before analysing and recording what has been found. Over the first six months, volunteers removed 3,470 metres of recreational fishing line, 12,228 plastic pieces, 4,682 plastic resin pellets, 637 pieces of foam and 571 metres of rope from the beaches. Not only is this program removing the debris from our coastal and marine environments, but it is also contributing the research data and education for the future.

The data collected is not only being added to the Phillip Island Nature Park database, but also the Tangaroa Blue database. Tangaroa Blue is a not-for-profit organisation which uses citizen based science to collect and remove marine debris from all across Australia, with the aims to continue to remove the debris and stop it at the source. Together, we are aiming to create a positive change for our oceans and our future.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Nature Parks, contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@penguins.org.au and see how you can help make a difference.