Ocean Culture - People and the Sea
Seaweek in the Northern Territory
Report by Roana O'Neill
Schools and the wider community became very involved in Seaweek right around the Territory this year. Activities and events included:
The Darwin Community Education Unit of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory organised a "Design A Sea Creature" competition for Territory schools. A class had to choose a marine animal found in Territory waters, make it out of recyclable materials and write accompanying text on why they chose the animal and its importance to people in the Territory.
Ten schools entered the competition. This included:
- Alawa Primary School (Darwin) Year 1, 2 and 3 Mother turtle and baby
- Bakewell Primary School (Darwin) Year 1 and 2 Octopus
- Darwin High School Year 9 Seahorse
- Holy Spirit Primary School (Darwin) Year 6 Turtle
- Leanyer Primary School (Darwin) Year 1, 2 and 6 Barramundi
Burf The Crocodile - Wanguri Primary
- Middle Point Primary School (Darwin) Transitions, Year 1, 2 and 3
- Milikapiti Pre-School (Melville Island) Dugong
- Wanguri Primary School (Darwin) Year 2 and 3 Crocodile
- Woodroffe Pre-School (Darwin) Box jellyfish
The sea creatures were displayed at the Seaweek festivities held at the grounds of the NT Museum on Sunday 18 March where the winners were announced.
Wanguri Primary School was awarded first prize for their huge effort in creating "Burf" the 4 metre crocodile. Second prize was awarded to Bakewell Primary School for their octopus while Woodroffe Pre-School and Holy Spirit Primary School were awarded joint third for their respective box jellyfish and turtle.
As the judging was made difficult due to the high standard by all entrants all classes were awarded with prizes (marine resources) and certificates. All sea creatures are currently on display for the public in Parliament House in Darwin until Friday 30th April.
This Competition was advertised twice through the Education Bulletin, a publication which reaches all schools in the Territory.
The Darwin Community Education Unit of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory organised an activity to run at schools in support of Seaweek.
The activity included
- The production of an information kit, which contained information on Seaweek, a Seaweek poster, a copy of the Unit's Environmental Calendar of Events, information on marine turtles, a copy for the Junior Ranger Review (an environmental magazine for children produced by the Commission) and master copies to allow teachers to provide multiple copies of items to students of their choice. This was provided prior to the activity to allow background reading.
NT Surf Life Savers at Seaweek2001
- The production of a 45-minute video interview with a Conservation Management Officer at Parks and Wildlife. The interview covered the role of the job, career information, information on research undertaken on marine animals, turtle species and conservation information. The purpose of the video was to allow students to meet a "real" person and hear about how they got into the job and what they do and find out about the research that Parks and Wildlife are undertaking. The video was distributed to schools prior to the activity along with a set of student questions for primary and secondary schools.
- The activity itself discussed the video, involved looking at turtle slides and discussed the distribution, diet and biology of turtles, involved working through a turtle identification key using preserved turtle specimens and general career discussion.
- The activity was provided to seven schools, four secondary and three primary schools reaching 168 school children.
- Information packs were provided to 14 schools whilst the videos were loaned to twelve schools.
This activity was advertised through the Education Bulletin.
The Darwin Community Education Unit of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory organised for a free community event to be run at the grounds of the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery on Sunday 18 March from 10am - 1pm.
- Thirteen organisations participated in the event including; Parks and Wildlife, Biomarine International, Conservation Volunteers, Coastcare, Cornucopia Café, Darwin Public Libraries, Life Be In It, NT Museum, Palmerston Library, Surf Lifesavers NT, Territory Craft, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and the World Wide Fund For Nature. All participants received a certificate of appreciation for supporting the event and an evaluation form to receive feedback on the event.
- Based on visitor counts from the Museum it is estimated that approximately 300 - 400 people attended the event over the three-hour period.
- Activities included turtle identification, identifying coastal items, storytelling and folktales about the sea, a Seaweek Trail, Maritime Gallery talk in the Museum about the people who built the ships on display, face painting and craft making.
- Displays covered marine animals found in Territory waters, surf lifesaving and marine debris found in the Arafura Sea.
- The sea creatures from the Design A Sea Creature Competition were on display at this event.
- Entries received as part of a colouring competition were also on display with prizes being awarded to four entrants. Prizes included free family passes to the Territory Wildlife Park, Crocodylus Park, Indo Pacific Marine and marine books.
- Four newspaper articles advertised the event prior to the day.
- One radio interview with the ABC was conducted prior to the event.
- Posters advertising the event were sent to all libraries in Darwin and Palmerston (5 libraries), the NT Museum, Cornucopia Café and Territory Craft.
- Advertising also included information via the MESA website, Government Events Calendar, FieldNats Newsletter, Marine Coastal and Community Network Newsletter - Ripples, Territory Craft Newsletter, and to all Parks and Wildlife staff via internal e-mail.
- An advertisement was placed in the Education Bulletin advising teaches that they could contact the Community Education Unit to receive Seaweek posters. There was a huge response to this and the majority of Seaweek posters were provided to schools.
- 500 unbleached calico bags were produced to provide free of charge to the public at the Seaweek event at the Museum.
- Financial contributions were received from the money provided to the NT MESA Rep, Parks and Wildlife, NT FieldNats, Coastcare, Darwin Public Libraries, Palmerston Library, Marine and Coastal Community Network, Amateur Fishermen's Association, Conservation Volunteers, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, NT Museum, Territory Craft and the Cancer Council.
- The bag carried a conservation message: "Replace a plastic bag with this re-usable calico bag and help protect our marine wildlife."
- The bag featured logos of all organisations that contributed to the payment of the bags. This also included the MESA logo with the MESA website listed underneath it.
- The bags proved to be extremely popular and were all distributed.
- In support of Seaweek the NT Field Naturalists Club organised a seminar for its members and the public on Wednesday 14 March at the Northern Territory University.
- The seminar was run by Scott Whiting of Biomarine International. The talk focused on bird and turtle life on Ashmore Reef.
- The Parks and Wildlife Commission provided advertising for this event. A flyer was produced and distributed via the Education Bulletin, Government Events Calendar site, internally to work staff and to the 5 libraries.
- Approximately 50 people attended the seminar.
- The Parks and Wildlife Commission produces a free, 12 page, quarterly magazine the Junior Ranger Review. This is an environmental magazine aimed at children and covers information on Territory fauna and flora.
- The first issue for the year was a special edition featuring Seaweek and focused solely on marine issues.
- The magazine included; information on Seaweek, marine scientists, nature quizzes, seagrass, dugongs, marine fossils, marine websites and longline fishing.
- 4000 copies of the Review are produced and distributed to all Junior Ranger members around the Territory, all Territory Parks, libraries, schools and a large number of people interstate and overseas.
- Eight schools were also involved in Seaweek (not including the schools already involved in the above activities) as advertised via the MESA website and the Darwin Libraries provided displays and story telling sessions.
- The NT Rep for MESA made contact with all schools offering marine resources and general support for Seaweek. Seaweek certificates were also sent to these schools and libraries with a cover letter thanking them for their involvement.
2001 saw a greater number of events being run than the previous year and an increased involvement of the community in Seaweek. It is therefore believed that the event has received greater exposure and awareness of the interest has been increased. The Territory is looking forward to being involved in Seaweek in 2002!