SCINEMA at the North Coast Marine Science Centre was a great success, with more than 80 participants enjoying a selection of amazing science films plus a panel that included indigenous linguist Uncle Michael Jarrett, scientific illustrator Meg English, ecologist Andrew Turbill, and environmental educator Lisa Siegel sharing thoughts on science and art.
Come and see citizen science in action and find out what we need to do to help look after our rivers at a community water testing event, Water!, on Sunday 19 August 10am – 1pm at the Bellinger River, during National Science Week. Participants can get hands-on with water testing in this all ages workshop run by Sue Lennox from OzGREEN.
This family-friendly event will include sharing the findings of the Bellingen Riverwatch citizen science program. Bellingen Riverwatch sees community scientists and the scientific community working together to monitor and care for the health of the Bellinger, Never Never and Kalang Rivers, and help recovery actions to support the critically endangered Bellinger River Turtle Myuchelys georgesi. This program is made possible by it’s amazing team of 25 community volunteers and 5 local schools who have been collecting monthly water quality data at 20 sites across the Bellinger and Kalang Rivers since August 2017.
Citizen science programs such as these push the envelope of what ecologists can achieve and promotes Earth stewardship with participants. “Citizen science connects the community to genuine scientific research and helps contribute to the environment, threatened species conservation, public health and so much more”, says Geetha Ortac, Senior Scientist, Citizen Science Saving our Species, Office of Environment & Heritage, one of the lead partners in the program.
“The health of the Bellinger River is key to the survival of the Bellinger River Turtle”, says OzGREEN Co-founder, Sue Lennox. “OzGREEN is delighted to be partnering with the Office of Environment and Heritage. Riverwatch provides a pathway for the people of Bellingen to get involved. We love our river and rely on the river for our water supplies. We are finding Faecal coliform in parts of the river and anecdotal evidence of water borne diseases. It’s quite concerning.”
OzGREEN is also currently recruiting some new volunteers into the Bellingen Riverwatch ongoing water monitoring program. If you are interested in getting involved, contact Amy on 0455 602 571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Water! is a free event brought to you by OzGREEN, the Coffs Coast Regional Science Hub and supported by Inspiring Australia, a national strategy to engage communities with science for a sustainable future. Optionally, if you are using river water for drinking, you can bring a sample of your drinking water for the OzGREEN team to test for Faecal coliform. These bacteria indicate pollution with faeces and potential for disease causing organisms like Giardia and Blastocystis to be present. Bring your sample in a clean sterile container (suggested donation $20 to help cover cost of test).
To find out more or to register for this event, visit www.ozgreen.org/www.ozgreen.org/water.
How did our river form? How did the plateau get so high? Where did the valleys come from? Why did it all happen that way, and where do humans fit into the picture? Join Gumbaynggirr language teacher Michael Jarrett, Eco-minister Jason John, and Buddhist teacher Will James, in discussion with local ecologist Mark Graham, to explore how geology, spirituality, and language flow together to create knowledge and culture.
This unique event will be happening on Sunday 15 July at 9:30am as part of the LeaF (Learning Festival) at Bello Winter Music, and is brought to you by the Coffs Coast Regional Science Hub and the Centre for Ecological Learning. It is sure to be a highlight of the LeaF this year!
The LeaF, now in its 4th year, is an eco-learning festival that takes place as part of the wonderful Bello Winter Music festival. As festival-goers have come to expect, LeaF workshops will again cover a rich and exciting array of topics, facilitated by passionate local presenters from nine different organisations on behalf of the Bellingen Shire Learning Alliance (BSLA) and the newly established Coffs Coast Regional Science Hub (CCRSH).
‘Spirit!’ takes place on Sunday 15 July from 9:30-11:00 am at Cedar Bar & Kitchen in Bellingen.
The newly formed Coffs Coast Regional Science Hub explored the topic Fire! Alternative Energy at its first event on 10 March 2018 at Bellingen Memorial Hall. A diverse line up of speakers shared their knowledge of science-based technologies at the forefront of change in the world.
Megan Bliss opened the event and gave an Acknowledgment to Country, followed by a welcome by Councillor Jenny Fenton, who reported on what Council is doing to support and lead change.
Sustainability consultant Arne Hansen spoke on optimising and increasing the efficiency of buildings. He shared what is happening in energy technology around the world and spoke on the idea of the community ownership of the electricity grid.
Keri Phillips, an environmental psychologist, spoke about feelings and values, and the decisions we make to reverse the destructive path we are on and towards a sustainable flourishing future.
Kersten Schmidt, a renewable energy pioneer with more than 25 years’ experience around the globe, painted a big picture of world wide energy initiatives and particularly what is happening in South Australia.
Architect Tricia Helyar spoke about making sustainable design the central mission where building our homes – in the materials we use, size of buildings with solar passive design and other features.
The final speaker was Paul Bryce, a professor of electricial engineering. Now retired. Paul’s impressive career includes being a chief technical advisor at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, designer and implementer of renewable energy in Cambodia, Indonesia, Fiji, Laos, PNG, Solomon Islands, Vietnam and Zimbabwe, and he was awarded the first Fred Hollows Engineer of the year award.
Paul spoke about this regions’ first Community Owned Renewable Energy CORE Project, a solar installation at the Old Butter Factory. This project is funded entirely by individual residents of the Shire, saves one million kilograms of CO2, facilitates 10 local businesses in saving on half their energy costs and 20 local residents getting attractive investment returns.
Audiences were encouraged to think and act differently and change their behaviour across all aspects of life, from energy production, food production and waste management to how and what we build. All were invited to take ownership of community services as they can.
This event was the first in a series of five events to be presented by the Coffs Coast Regional Science Hub with support from Inspiring Australia. Find out more about what is on the horizon on Facebook.
There was an audible buzz of enthusiasm happening in the back of the Cedar Bar & Restaurant in Bellingen last week, when 30 keen people came together to meet each other, share ideas, and officially launch the brand new Coffs Coast Regional Science Hub (CCRSH). Initiated by Inspiring Australia NSW, CCRSH is now one of 14 Regional Science Hubs which are working to create conscious and knowledgeable citizens who care about and take action in the world. This initiative does that by connecting scientists to the broader community and bridging the gap between science and society.
The event was opened by Amy Denshire, CCRSH Administrator, who then handed over to Lisa Siegel, co-founder of the Centre for Ecological Learning which is the lead partner for this initiative. Guest Speaker for the event was Jackie Randles, NSW Manager of Inspiring Australia, who spoke to the group about what the Inspiring Australia initiative is all about, why this national strategy linking science with the public is important, and what other Hubs have been doing.
The CCRSH launch event saw scientists, artists, and staff and representatives from Bellingen Shire Council, Coffs City Harbour Council, Southern Cross University/National Marine Science Centre, North Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Birdlife NSW, Coffs Regional Art Gallery, arts organisations, community organisations and schools come together to launch the initiative and start the conversation of how we can work together to bring science to where the people are in this region. CCRSH will serve the Bellingen Shire, Coffs City Council, and the Nambucca Shire and is specifically focused on connecting our communities with science to bring about a sustainable future. “There was a great energy in the room. It was wonderful hearing all the connections between people from the different sectors. We look forward to more groups joining!”, said Amy Denshire, CCRSH Administrator.
The next meet-up for the Coffs Coast Regional Science Hub is on Tuesday May 8th from 3-5pm at the National Marine Science Centre, 2 Bay Drive, Coffs Harbour. For more information, visit www.cel.org.au/ccrsh or contact Amy on 0490 068 685.
CCRSH May Meet-Up | Tuesday 8th May, 3-5pm | National Marine Science Centre
The Centre for Ecological Learning (CEL) supports people of all ages to experience Earth-based, immersive, educational experiences that deepen our relationship with ourselves and the natural world.
These experiences nourish, inspire and equip people with the knowledge and skills to go forth and adopt more ecologically sustainable ways of living in their personal lives and local community.
CEL’s Food4LYF program has been running at the Bellingen High School Community Garden since 2011 and is the project that is currently most in need of volunteers. This project sees high school students learn gardening skills in a community permaculture garden and then pick produce from the garden and learn seasonal recipes. CEL is looking for people who are interested in gardening, cooking or who have experience working with young people to contribute to this fantastic program. “I love that volunteering with this project gives me the inspiration to learn new seasonal recipes”, says CEL Facilitator, Amy Denshire, who volunteers with the program. “Next week, we’re making comfrey fritters!”
Jane Grant has been volunteering with CEL in the Food4LYF project for the last two years. She has found the experience hugely fulfilling and urges others to get involved. “Working alongside young people to learn about growing, harvesting and preparing food from a real food garden is such a joy. My hope is that the volunteering effort of others helps the program continue and flourish into the future.”
Join the Young Naturalists Club this Sunday morning as they head out to the upper reaches of the Bellinger River in Thora and meeting with members of the scientific research team who are undertaking their 2018 field surveys for the (recently) endangered Bellinger River Snapping Turtle. This will be a unique opportunity for the group to be briefed on the situation which has led to the near-total loss of Snapping Turtles from the river, learn how to identify turtles, hear about the latest science and ask questions regarding impacts on the river ecology.
YNC events are free for members. To become a member, visit www.cel.org.au/ync
Bellingen EYE’s latest campaign, ‘Youth Against Plastic’ have been working towards a ban on single use plastic bags in NSW for a while now and are surprised that NSW is the only state in Australia not to have a ban! They have been planning a leadership camp to reinvigorate this issue and encourage action from young people across the state to work towards a future that is fantastic – not plastic!
Help us spread the word!
P: 0423 362 844
E: info (AT) cel.org.au
A: PO Box 528, Bellingen NSW 2454