Marine Science Visit to Penguin Island

Environmentalist are arguing that recreation, tourism and human visitation to Penguin Island are negatively impacting on the marine environment. For conservation reasons, the environmentalists argue that the island should be closed to human visitors.

Year 9 Marine studies students have been given the task to act as biologist and expert during a class visit to Penguin Island. The girls have been asked to collect data and conduct further research in order to make a recommendation as to whether the park should remain open to human visitors or be closed. The girls will present their findings in a report.

A great example of connecting learning to life. This term the girls have also been involved in debating a range of Marine conservation topics such as: should we start drilling in Ningaloo, should we excessively fine developing countries who illegally fish in Australian waters and other big questions like these. They were surveyed before and after the activity to see which group had the best persuasive argument. The girls enjoyed this experience greatly.

Here are some reflections from the girls on their visit to Penguin Island.

I have learnt about the importance our actions can have on small areas such as Shoalwater Islands Marine Park and believe that more marine areas like this one need to become A-class nature reserves to protect the species and wildlife within them. I had a fun time exploring and learning about Penguin Island and think that we should have more engaging and informative excursions like this one in the future. Abbey Winship

Penguin Island is an incredible marine environment to visit, with turquoise waters filled to the brim with sea creatures to study. During our excursion this week, we learnt so much; from the behavioural habits of dolphins and sea lions to how pelicans bring up their young. The best part was we didnu2019t have to learn this from paper, we were able to understand many things about the marine environment by experiencing it. Niamh Smithies

The boat trip around the island was my highlight because it helped me realise, we donu2019t need to put animals into captivity to see how amazing they are. The dolphins were naturally playing on the waves the boat was creating, putting on a brilliant show for us. The information we learnt about the vulnerable penguins whilst at the Discovery Centre and touring around the island proved the importance of protected nature reserves like Penguin Island. Abby Young

One fact that surprised me was that penguins spend 80% of their days in the water. We were there because we were questioning whether lots of people should keep visiting the island. Our tour guide made some very good points. One of these was that although the penguins are affected by the noise visitors to the island make, the person who runs the business is trying to support his family. The marine park is having a very big impact as they make breeding pens for the penguins and keep the homes of the penguins clean and usable. Grace Beeson

Pengiun Island

Throughout the feeding session and walk around the island we were able to learn about the impact humans have had on the park and the difference that has been made by making this area an A-Class Nature Reserve. The volunteers and full-time workers had some very valuable insights into how Penguin island should be used in the future with the opinion that we should continue to protect and educate about this island and the 500 Little Penguins that call it home. Lauren Winship

We learnt so many great facts about penguins and the other marine creatures, but my favourite facts were that when penguins are moulting they cannot swim, so they have to conserve body fat to last them the whole 2-3 weeks, and that when dolphins blush, they blush on their bellies! This whole excursion, while it was fun, it was also about how important our marine ecosystem is to the planet and life of all kind. The marine park allows tourists from around Western Australia to observe little penguins and other marine creatures like sea lions and dolphins, in their natural habitat without majorly disturbing their daily routines. It also informs tourists about how protected these species are that it is very important to conserve marine parks like these that provide stable homes for these creatures. Claudia Cirocco

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