Happy Healthy and Green - Dicky Beach Marine Debris

Happy, Healthy and Green: Community Action in Conservation

On Sunday the 20th of May, volunteers lined the foreshore of Dicky Beach to undertake a marine debris survey in celebration of National Volunteer Week, an activity made possible under the Happy, Healthy and Green initiative.

Sponsored by Stockland under the 2017 Stockland Aura Community Grants Program, ‘Happy Healthy and Green’ is a free, nature-based, well-being initiative facilitated by Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) across the Sunshine Coast. Launching in early 2018, the initiative has sparked local interest and Sunday’s event was no exception.

The event engaged several local environmental groups including Reef Check, Koala Action Inc, the University of Sunshine Coast Environmental Collective and Local Food Loop.

CVA’s South East Queensland Conservation Officer, Marina Richardson, said: “It is brilliant how many members of the local community care passionately about the state of their beaches. Beyond the tens of volunteers out with us today, we’ve had countless community members stop by the stalls, which we positioned on the beach. It’s been a really fabulous event in showcasing volunteer activities and connecting a number of local groups and community members in northern Caloundra. Within one hour of marine debris collection, 24 volunteers collected over 15kg of rubbish. This was quite surprising to many of the volunteers as the beach looked so clean from a distance!”

Volunteers sorting through marine debris

Volunteers sorting through marine debris at Dicky Beach

CVA’s South East Operations Manager, Doug Mackenzie, noted how valuable these events are for training volunteers in environmental survey techniques and analysis of marine debris.

“These surveys build on on-going efforts by CVA and partners in the region to better understand pollutants and increase community stewardship of our coastline.” Says Doug. “All debris from this event was analysed and recorded for Tangaroa Blue Foundation dataset. The majority of the debris collected was single use plastics, cigarette butts and disposable coffee cups. Interestingly, the cigarette butts have been provided to Reef Check for analysis as part of a recycling project they are currently working on.”

During 2018, CVA will facilitate 30 more events across Shelly, Moffat and Dicky Beaches. Community organisations including Council’s Community Nature Conservation Program, Shelly Beach Conservation Group and George Watson Park Bushcare Group we will be undertaking marine debris collection and analysis across the three locations.

“This initiative focuses on strengthening the capacity of the general public to actively participate in the shaping of their community.” Says CVA Corporate Relations, Tamasin Chugg, “Funding events that assist people to get outdoors and undertake marine debris collections and analysis, Stockland is not only assisting the environment but also assisting locals in becoming more inclusive of the changing community (growth and demographics) through fostering a new and unique sense of belonging.”

Everyday CVA volunteers make a difference to the environment across Australia. If you are interested in volunteering with CVA in South East Queensland, please contact our Conservation Officer on (07) 3399 5761 or search for local events in your area.