Be a local hero, Jane

Clean Up Australia is this Sunday March 4th. Please Share. We caught up with Jane Shearer of the Caring For Our Bays program that is delivered through the Bellarine catchment network. ‘One of our main aims is to raise awareness about the impact litter has on our unique marine species that call Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay home. That’s where the ‘Be a local hero’ campaign comes in, to connect our community and visitors alike to the bay as habitat and to share how we can all protect our heroes of the bay.

‘We’ve used 5 iconic species of our region, as the faces for the campaign. There’s the Australasian Gannat, Growling Grass Frog, Weedy Seadragon, Australian Fur Seal and the Burrunan Dolphin. You may be interested to know this species of dolphin was only discovered a few years ago. It is a relative of the Bottle Nose dolphin but a different species. In 2011, Principal Researcher and Founding Director of the Marine Mammal Foundation (MMF), Dr Kate Charlton-Robb, formally identified and named Tursiops australis, known commonly as ‘Burrunan dolphin’ following Australian aboriginal narrative. The Burrunan dolphin has already been listed as ‘Threatened’ due to its small and isolated populations.

‘A big part of what we do is education and engagement. We are working with many schools on the Bellarine, in #Geelong and around Corio Bay. We are making students aware of our bays’ unique species, the impacts of plastics and how they can contribute to caring for our bays.

‘You might have seen us at the Pako Festa withGeelong Sustainability. We believe it is important to tie in with other projects and organisations. You may also see our ‘Be a Local Hero’ materials at Eastern Beach and in many other coastal reserves along the Corio Bay and #Bellarine Peninsula coastline, as we have strong partnerships with multiple local land managers.

‘Our work is based on regular data collected by volunteers and partner organisations through litter audits at 12 hotspots around #Corio Bay and Northern #Bellarine. We collect data on the amount and type of rubbish found and the infrastructure present. We base campaigns on these findings and discover gaps in knowledge or the need for more bins or signage. Our aim is to see a decline of litter at all sites and an increase in responsible disposal of litter.’

If you would like to get in touch with Caring For Our Bays Or if you would like to find a local clean up site for this Sunday

Story: Jacqui Bennett. Poster of the Burrunan Dolphin supplied. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Catch up on all our stories on our website.