Environmentalists For The Day

The Year 9 Marine Science class has been studying conservation and the impact humans can have on the marine environment.

Students have been learning about why marine parks and reserves are so important. The girls have learnt how, through rules and regulations in the marine parks, they are protected areas, which encourages more biodiversity and protection for endangered species. The girls have been specifically looking at Western Australian marine parks such as Ningaloo, Shark Bay, the Abrolhos Islands, and Shoalwater Marine Park, 

To investigate their topic firsthand, the Year 9 Marine Science students visited Penguin Island on Friday. The girls were required to collect data and conduct research, in order to make a recommendation as to whether the park should remain open to human visitors or be closed. The students have been asked to present their findings in a report, which will be assessed as part of the course. 

Penguin Island, near Rockingham, is part of the Shoalwater Marine Park and is a stunning example of why marine parks are so important for preserving biodiversity in Western Australia. It is home to dolphins, Australian sea lions, little penguins, pelicans, and a huge community of birds such as the bridled and fairy terns, which have migrated from Siberia and Borneo to breed and nest. 

The girls participated in an adventure cruise where they met the local sea lion community and observed the local Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins feeding. They attended the penguin feeding session, where the girls learnt about the population of the penguins on the island. They were also taken on a guided walking tour of the island by park rangers and had the opportunity to survey the human impact on the marine environment at various locations around the island. 

Here is a short account from Year 9 student, Isabelle McCarthy.

Going to Shoalwater Marine Park was a super fun excursion. I loved cruising around in the boat and seeing all the different animals, the sea lions, dolphins, and ospreys were my favourites. The tour guide was great; she answered all our questions and I learnt heaps! I enjoyed seeing so many birds in one place, especially the pelicans since they were so relaxed. The little penguin talk was very informative, and the penguins were very cute. I can now see why marine parks are so important in protecting the animals and plants of Western Australia, especially the Australian sea lion. Western Australia holds 20% of the Australian sea lion population and there are only 10,000 left, they are one of the most endangered pinnipeds in the world. 

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