Life along our coasts

Painting of a whale with a baby whale

The 2022 Sapphire Coast Science Week will focus on life along our coasts, and is a wonderful celebration of science and art in this vibrant coastal community. Participate in online sessions, tours, field trips and a range of in-person events presented by the Sapphire Coast Regional Science Hub, Bournda EEC and Atlas of Life.

Artwork: Mother’s Love’ by Bermagui artist Paula Campbell for Walawaani Muriyira-Waraga.

Schedule, 13 to 20 August 2022

• Saturday 13. Walawaani Muriyira-waraga whale festival LAUNCH Bermagui
• Sunday 14. Merimbula estuary ramble at Spencer Park
• Tuesday 16. The value and vower of place-based science – Atlas/ACSA
• Tuesday 16. Build it and help them come – marine life on man made structures
• Thursday 18. The tawny frogmouth encounter (11am)
• Thursday 18. Science in the pub (6pm)
• Friday 19. Australian BioBlitz symposium – ACSA/Atlas
• Saturday 20. Potoroo Palace night tour

Walawaani Muriyira-waraga

Saturday 13 August. Bermagui

Welcome our whales at the official opening of the 2022 whale watching season! Join the opening event of Walawaani Muriyira-Waraga.

Hosted in Bermagui on Saturday 13 August, Walawaani Muriyira-Waraga means ‘safe journey whale – many’, translated from the local Dhurga language. This new one-day event brings together the local community to herald the coming of the whales and to celebrate the cultural significance of this annual migration to the local Yuin people.

The event will feature local Aboriginal speakers and performances, an ocean paddle out to welcome the whales, whale-themed talks by local experts, and exclusive whale-watching charters for community members. Come along and learn about our local Indigenous culture and our whales, and make a day of it with friends and family.

More information

Merimbula estuary ramble

Sunday 14th August 2.30 to 4 pm. Spencer Park, Merimbula

A winter walk along the edge of Merimbula Lake at low tide to search for hidden treasures like moon snails, sea slugs, shrimps, hermit crabs and rose-petalled bubble snails. There are always special things to find.

Just come along from 2.30 pm – 4 pm to this free event. Make sure you bring reef boots or other footwear you don’t mind getting wet. Please wear clothes suitable for the winter weather. Bring your phones for recording into iNaturalist.

Ramble led by Libby Hepburn and Liz Allen

Some of the creatures we’ve seen in the past include (L-R) hermit crabs, red-lined bubble snails, octopii, (bottom) headshield salugs

The Value and Power of Place-based Science

Tuesday 16th August 2.30 to 4.30 pm. Online Symposium

Hosted by Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA). Citizen science can move mountains if enough people get involved. This online symposium will explore great global and local examples of powerful place-based citizen science and consider why this is the sweet spot for great science with communities.

When people are interested in studying their own locality, they are likely to do this more carefully and over long periods, because their place matters to them. If science can contribute robust methodologies and data can be FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable), results are likely to be meaningful to all. We can foster interest, understanding and stewardship of “Our Place” with good science. We will showcase a number of different but powerful projects and discuss what research would be valuable in Bega Valley (or any Local Council area).

This symposium invites people working with local Councils (especially BVSC), LLS, Landcare, NPWS, scientists, farmers, landholders and community members wanting to take their interest in nature and our environment to the next level.

Discussion will include: What sort of projects are most successful? What is the value for NRMs (Natural Resource Managers)? Can we join up the dots by having common methodologies (eg. Phenology) that can be replicated across the country?

Register in advance for this meeting.

Build it and help them come – Tulips, Stars, Sponges & Squirts: How underwater specialists are helping bring life to man-made marine structures.

Tuesday 16th August, 5pm. Online discussion

Piles under jetties and wharves are homes to a multitude of life. Soft corals, sponges, and other corals in particular form colonies on the under water timbers.

In this online forum, Sophie Teede from WA’s Busselton Jetty, Nathan Cook from Wonder Reef on the Gold Coast and AJ Morton from Operation Sponge at Blairgowrie in Victoria will be speaking about their underwater structure restoration and species relocation projects.

Also joining the discussion will be project managers from Living Seawalls, at Sydney Institute of Marine Science.

These experts join Luke Hamilton of Tathra’s Life Under the Wharf project in the lead up to the Tathra Wharf restoration which begins in October. Joining Luke will be his daughter Minka, who was instrumental in motivating the Tathra community and Bega Valley Shire Council around this project.

Register in advance for this webinar

The Tawny Frogmouth (now sold out!)

Thursday 18 August 11am.

I am not an owl! Yes, that’s right, the Tawny frogmouth is not an owl.

Presented by Tathra’s own Tiny Zoo, as part of the 2022 Sapphire Coast Science Festival, you can learn about this amazing species with one of our zookeepers at this free outdoor event.

Not only will you learn a lot about this incredible species, but you will also get to meet a Tawny frogmouth during this educational talk. The talk will be held in Tathra, and the location is provided once you book tickets (note this event is limited to 25 participants).

Booking essential.

close up of a bird's eyes and beak
Tawny Frogmouth/ Photo by Steve Sass.

Science in the Pub

Thursday 18 August.

To The Lighthouse! Science in the Pub with a lighthouse keeper…

For seafaring types, a lighthouse is something you should give a wide berth, but you’ll want to be up close for this one – a special Science in the Pub, featuring our popular blend of science, music, food and pub quiz with a fascinating presentation on the life of a modern lighthouse engineer!

Guest speaker Greg Hansen will describe some of the challenges he has experienced, the modern optic technologies adopted in historical lighthouses, and his work to enhance offshore asset resilience to large storm events.

The presentation will also feature a short 10-minute film, the 1949 National Film Board classic, “The Lighthouse Keeper”.

Book here

Below: Left Greg Hansen, Right Not Greg Hansen

ACSA – Australian BioBlitz symposium

Friday 19 August. Online

Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) have been running BioBlitzes in Australia for over a decade now and it’s great to see them becoming ever more popular these days. Now is a good time to celebrate the unique events we have been part of and some of the amazing results we have seen.

This symposium will focus on the shape of recent BioBlitzes and we will discuss what BioBlitzes can offering future – for community and for science.

Co-hosts: Libby Hepburn and Larissa Braz Sousa

  • Michelle Neil & Stephen Fricker, Great Southern BioBlitz creators & leaders
  • Suvarna Parbhoo, Great Southern Bioblitz contributor from South Africa
  • Thomas Mesaglio, iNaturalist guru
  • Will Cornwell from UNSW on the post-bushfire BioBlitzes
  • Judith Friedlander talking about BioBlitzes for schools

Register in advance for this meeting

Potoroo Palace – Night tour

Saturday 20 August from 5pm. Potoroo Palace Native Animal Sanctuary

Native Wildlife Sanctuary Potoroo Palace presents our closing event for Science Week 2022. With their renowned hospitality and hearty, healthy food from Cows Nest, the people at our award-winning animal sanctuary invite you into the night world of our marsupials like bettongs, potoroos, gliders and other nocturnal creatures.

After a warming meal you will be taken out into the grounds, guided by expert animal carers. You’ll be introduced to some of our wonderful, local, nocturnal animals, and glimpse their active night life, learning all the while. Meet from 5pm for hors d’oevres, 6pm main meal, 7pm Night Tour ($60pp + booking fee).

Tickets online now.