An Evaluation of the Coastal Ambassadors Course in South Australia

Dr Mike Bossley1

1Whale & Dolphin Conservation, Uraidla, Australia

Abstract

An Evaluation of the Coastal Ambassadors Course in South Australia

A Coastal Ambassadors course was implemented in 2005 by the Pittwater Council in NSW and has since been taken up by other groups, particularly surf clubs, along many other parts of the NSW coast. The objective of the course was to provide education on coastal and marine conservation issues.

In 2011 the South Australian Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board paired with a local NGO to implement a course based on the concept of the NSW model but with its own syllabus. The SA course has been run on an annual basis since that time. The course introduces participants to temperate marine ecology and provides an overview of human impacts on these ecosystems. The course also includes two practical sessions, a snorkel on a local marine reserve and a kayak tour of a mangrove forest. A total of 131 people have completed the course since its inception.

A survey of graduates was completed in September 2017. The survey provided quantitative and qualitative data which indicated graduates increased both their knowledge of marine and coastal issues and their own involvement in promoting marine conservation. Most graduates indicated they undertook ongoing further self education and a number have undertaken further TAFE or university courses. Their practical involvement included undertaking projects such as planting coastal gardens and undertaking beach litter collections; using social media to promote marine conservation; and changing their personal behaviour to reduce their environmental footprint. Qualitative responses were highly positive.

The Coastal Ambassadors model appears to be a powerful tool to achieve community participation in marine and coastal conservation.

Biography

Mike has been active in marine conservation, education and research for almost fifty years. His main activities have centered on marine mammal conservation and the establishment of marine protected areas

About the Association

The Australian Coastal Society (ACS) was initiated at the Coast to Coast Conference in Tasmania in 2004. The idea was floated as a means for those interested in coastal matters to communicate between conferences and where possible take resolutions of the conference to appropriate levels of government.

The idea was discussed further at the Coast to Coast Conference in Melbourne in 2006 and it was agreed that Bruce Thom develop a constitution of a company limited by guarantee that would operate on a national basis.

This plan was accomplished and in 2008 at the Coast to Coast Conference in Darwin the constitution was ratified and an Executive appointed. The company received charitable status in 2011.

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