Dr Mike Bossley1
1Whale & Dolphin Conservation, Uraidla, Australia
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.
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