28 Mar The Prince of Wales to learn more about Low Glow project in Bundaberg
Students from Kalkie State School with Low Glow calendars
Under the guidance of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Greenfleet, The Walt Disney Company (Australia) and The Prince’s Trust Australia having been working with the local community to activate the Low Glow: Lights Out, Turtles About collaboration, designed to help protect Bundaberg’s endangered sea turtles.
On 6th April, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will travel to Bundaberg to meet with local residents and key representatives of the Low Glow collaboration to learn of all the ways in which the Bundaberg community are driving conservation efforts. His Royal Highness will find out first-hand about the work being done on his behalf to protect loggerhead turtles on Mon Repos beach, home to the largest sea turtle population on the Australian eastern seaboard.
Together with Bundaberg Regional Council, the Sea Turtle Alliance and Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism, the Low Glow collaboration is working tirelessly in preparation for the 2018/19 hatching season.
Artificial coastal lighting is one of the major threats to the critically endangered loggerhead turtle population as the distracting glow draws them inland rather than out to sea. Through the growing collaboration, Low Glow aims to address a number of climate change issues concurrently. From the Barolin Nature Reserve reforestation project to a community education campaign that encourages residents to ‘dim their house lights’ during the turtle breeding season between November and March, a visit from His Royal Highness will further highlight the importance of the work being done to protect and preserve the Great Barrier Reef and acknowledge the community’s collective efforts to drive change.
“The Great Barrier Reef is not only a national icon of Australia, it’s a global icon; and His Royal Highness has taken a personal interest in its conservation for future generations. I am extremely proud to be collaborating with Greenfleet and The Walt Disney Company in enabling community-led action to preserve one of our most unique valuable natural assets” says Janine Kirk, Chief Executive, The Prince’s Trust Australia.
In conjunction with the local community – who continue to play an integral part in actioning practical change – Greenfleet, The Prince’s Trust Australia and The Walt Disney Company (Australia) have facilitated direct and indirect strategies to protect the precious sea turtles, whilst regenerating the natural environment and the regional economy.
Led by the team at Greenfleet, the largest ever reforestation project in Bundaberg was conducted in May 2017. Over 80,000 native trees were planted across 89 hectares in the Barolin Nature Reserve, immediately behind Mon Repos beach. As it grows, the forest will sequester more than 65,000 tonnes of carbon and help protect the turtle hatchery from artificial light pollution.
The ‘green curtain’ provided by the trees will shield light from local industries, businesses and residencies, and help reduce confusion for turtle hatchlings as they make their way to the sea.
“Greenfleet is delighted to provide practical actions for the collaboration,” said Wayne Wescott, Chief Executive, Greenfleet. “In 2018, we are planting another 5,000 native trees adjacent to Mon Repos beach to help further reduce the light glow around this important turtle site.”
The Low Glow collaboration was brought to life in November 2017 by a visit from Dr Blair Witherington, a world-renowned expert on sea turtles and Conservation Program Manager at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. Dr Witherington’s visit coincided with the commencement of the Low Glow community engagement initiative, including a series of educational calendars and flyers starring Disney’s Finding Nemo turtle characters Crush and Squirt.
“We are pleased and honoured to partner with The Prince’s Trust Australia and Greenfleet on this community initiative. We are delighted that our much-loved characters can help children and families take practical action for change through the reduction of their light pollution” said Kylie Watson Wheeler, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company, Australia and New Zealand.
Through the Low Glow campaign, we are developing a better understanding of the ways humans in urban areas interact with nature and use lighting at home and outdoors, including streetlighting and carparks. The project will also encourage local businesses and the community to explore new technologies and ways of managing light while respecting their environmental assets.
This is only the beginning of the Low Glow story and we are excited to welcome His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to Bundaberg and update him on the progress made so far through the collaboration.
To find out how you can help, and join the Low Glow community, visit lowglow.org.