Out to make a difference and help keep our country litter-free is the Dolphin Discovery Centre (DDC) in Bunbury, Western Australia, with their recent Storm Chasers Program. Volunteers from the local community and staff of the DDC come together whenever there has been a storm to clear the beach of litter and debris, keeping the environment clean and protecting local wildlife. Every month, these volunteers clear hundreds of kilometres of coastline, bushland and forests of litter while also monitoring for wildlife in need of help such as sea turtles, birdlife, seals, and dolphins.
Through their partnership with the Perth Zoo and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), the DDC can assist in the rescue, recovery, and release of distressed and injured animals, such as the endangered Loggerhead Turtle, that they find during their beach clean-up. Since being tagged, 24 Loggerheads are currently due for release in late February/March; a testament to the necessity of this initiative to locate and rescue stranded marine life.
This coordinated community clean-up also provides essential data to national databases, such as Tangaroa Blue and Keep Australia Beautiful, by asking volunteers to take photos of the area and record information. Uploading this data aids with research efforts to fight pollution at its cause. After photos are taken, the waste is disposed of in onsite bins for appropriate waste management and recycling. The DDC also recently acquired a grant to help expand the Stormchaser Program by purchasing bags, gloves, and pick-up tools for volunteers to use, as well as a trailer to help transport the rubbish.
Through educational videos and raising awareness, the DDC has helped to create a movement that is growing larger by the week. On Clean Up Australia Day 2021, the centre saw over 80 people clean up 40 kilometres of beach and this year they are hoping to go bigger and better! But this Storm Chasers Initiative is not just for big occasions; it is a project the community can undertake on any day to do their bit for the environment. Picking up rubbish is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to make a difference and protect the planet.
The DDC has also established a Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Environment Fund to support their vital conservation, education and research programs via donations and fundraising activities. Other important activities undertaken by the organisation include coral propagation and artificial reef seeding, marine education, and rescue and rehabilitation projects.
Campaigns such as the Stormchaser Program are a great way to get involved in your local community and help Keep Australia Beautiful. If you would like to find out more about their conservation initiatives, join the Stormchasers Program or make a contribution, contact the Dolphin Discovery Centre by email at [email protected] or check out their website here.
Image credit: Dolphin Discovery Centre