Sea Turtle Foundation held a community engagement day and beach clean up at Cape Pallarenda on October 9th.
The day was well attended with over 30 attendees and some scouts even came down to help clean up the beach. Tangaroa Blue was on hand to give a much appreciated hand with sorting the rubbish and collecting the data. In total we collected 31Kg of rubbish which was a great effort considering the beach at Cape Pallarenda is considered to be relatively clean. It just goes to show how much rubbish is on our beaches. Recently it was reported that an estimated 50% of marine turtles within Australian waters will have plastic in their systems. Cleaning our beaches is important but the real difference will only be made when people stop littering and cease the use of one use plastic products. A key item found at the clean up was cigarette butts, with over 200 found, it was really disappointing to find an item that takes 1-5 years to break down so prominent on our beaches. Other key items collected were plastic bottles (which take approximately 450 years to break down) and straws.
After the clean up participants were invited up to the old quarantine station buildings for some light refreshments and some talks regarding turtle conservation and research. These were presented in conjunction with QPWS, Tangaroa Blue and the JCU Turtle Health Research Group.
A key aim for the day was to establish a good network and relationship with our stranding response volunteers. Again we encourage anyone interested in this program and undertaking online stranding training to email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Stranding numbers are currently relatively low but it is important that Sea Turtle Foundation and QPWS continue to build strong relationships with our volunteers so they can be called upon again when stranding numbers inevitably increase due to weather events. It was good to see some familiar faces as well as some new volunteers. Anyone who would like to volunteer with STF in any capacity whether it be helping out in the office, fundraising or joining the stranding response team please contact us, we would love to hear from you.