Miss Belinda Atkins1, Mr Geoff Withycombe1
1Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Sydney, Australia
Summerama is a regional coastal activities program designed to enhance community awareness, and develop a sense of place by increasing the community’s interaction and connection with Sydney’s coastline through fun and inspiring coastal activities. Summerama is a partnership between Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) and its Member Councils, and is a proven and tested program that attracts over 2000 attendees during the month of January, through a range of activities from Pittwater to Sutherland. Members of the community are invited to actively participate in coastal activities, including kayaking, snorkeling, wetland and rock pool rambles, walk ‘n’ talks, coastal expos, citizen science, children’s waste to art activities, chalk art, and speaker events on marine life, coastal habitats, waste/plastics, science of the surf and coastal safety. The majority of coastal activities are offered free of charge to enhance participation and engagement, enabling equitable access to coastal activities by all members of the community. The program engages with other partners including state government, NGO’s, and volunteer groups. For the first time in 2017, SCCG planned activities with program partners to target culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, bringing together a diverse group of people to spend time in and connect with the coastal space. It is recognised that greater understanding of the coast through participation in activities within this environment will lead to a greater appreciation of the coast, stewardship of coastal places, and further engagement of the community in implementing behaviours and community-based actions to address coastal issues and identify management solutions.
Belinda has a BAppSc (Environmental Management and Tourism), and a BAppSc (Honours) in protected areas management, and has worked in the environmental
field for 15 years; with experience in environmental management, environmental policy and strategy, environmental health, and the development and delivery of sustainability education and waste programs. Belinda is currently the Manager Projects and Programs at the Sydney Coastal Councils Group, where her primary role is assisting member councils to achieve sustainable coastal management through collaboration, capacity building, research and advocacy.