River Warriors Gold Coast - Phase II: Source-reduction and education programs.

After collecting almost 23,000 pieces of marine debris during our baseline surveys on Tallebudgera Creek, our team has now commenced Phase II of the program - to mitigate the issue at its source through education, outreach, community engagement and practical mitigation strategies.

Phase II launched with a joint-initiative as part of GECKO Environment Council’s Green Week with the Land + Sea Clean up. Alongside a range of partners, the efforts of the 70+ volunteers resulted in over 2,500 items collected, weighing in at over 150kg!

Drone footage of the Land + Sea Clean Up as part of GECKO’s Green Week.  Image ©Meret Wandeler.

Drone footage of the Land + Sea Clean Up as part of GECKO’s Green Week.
Image ©Meret Wandeler.

A huge haul of over 2,500 items was collected by around 70 volunteers. Total weight = 151kg.

A huge haul of over 2,500 items was collected by around 70 volunteers. Total weight = 151kg.

Following on from the success of the Land + Sea clean, the team ran a series of 4 education workshops to primary school students at Tallebudgera, Palm Beach, Ingleside and Elanora State Schools. Presenting to over 400 students, it was great to see the enthusiasm, awareness and concern that the kids have for the issues facing marine ecosystems and their desire to create positive change. It gives us hope that a new generation of leaders will take charge and help us turn the tide on ocean exploitation.

Our CEO presenting to over 200 students at Tallebudgera State School on the Gold Coast.

Our CEO presenting to over 200 students at Tallebudgera State School on the Gold Coast.

Our team talking about the threats and solutions of marine pollution to students at Palm Beach State School on the Gold Coast.

Our team talking about the threats and solutions of marine pollution to students at Palm Beach State School on the Gold Coast.

Students and teachers learning more about the 5 Gyres through examining microplastic samples from around the world.

Students and teachers learning more about the 5 Gyres through examining microplastic samples from around the world.

Continuing on from the educational workshops, we had the pleasure of taking 60 students and four teachers from each of the four schools kayaking on Tallebudgera Creek over two days. Starting at Creekside park in Elanora, we paddled 1.5km of the creek picking up rubbish along the way and finishing at Schuster Park. Despite having to brave the rain and cold weather, the students conquered the creek, picking up a total of 67.46kgs of rubbish over a 1.5km stretch! Of the 1342 pieces of rubbish found, the majority included polystyrene, plastic bags and plastic food packaging, much in line with our initial findings during Phase I of the program.

Heading out from Creekside Park, Elanora.

Heading out from Creekside Park, Elanora.

Stopping along the river banks to collect debris.

Stopping along the river banks to collect debris.

The students were astonished with their findings that included over 10m of electrical cable, a plethora of thongs, an angle grinder disc, plastic toys, hundreds of metres of discarded fishing line, bait saver nets and rods and of course plastic bags, packaging, wrappers, cigarette butts, straws and lollypop sticks, as well as the odd glass bottle or two. All of these items can be so easily prevented from entering our waterways and ocean by simply being more mindful of how consume and discard of our waste. This is the main aim of Phase II of the program and, over the coming weeks, we’ll be working with local businesses and residents to further drive long-term change and create River Champions across the waterway.

The kids getting their hands dirty, whilst learning about the impact that marine debris has on the creek.

The kids getting their hands dirty, whilst learning about the impact that marine debris has on the creek.

Citizen science in action - sorting, counting and weighing to assist our team with our ongoing research on the waterway.

Citizen science in action - sorting, counting and weighing to assist our team with our ongoing research on the waterway.

A huge haul, mainly comprised of single-use plastics and polystyrene, which have enormous impacts on ecosystem health.

A huge haul, mainly comprised of single-use plastics and polystyrene, which have enormous impacts on ecosystem health.

Great work everyone!

Great work everyone!

Another successful day on the water.

Another successful day on the water.

A big thank you to all students and teachers that participated in the surveys and an extra special thanks to the staff at Tallebudgera Beach School for partnering with us to guide the kayak clean and providing kayaks and staff to help on the day.

Our Tallebudgera Creek River Warriors initiative is proudly supported by the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action Grants Program.