‘Why are you going to Melbourne? There’s no diving there!’ This is the sentence I used to hear as an enthusiastic marine biologist working as a dive instructor and heading to Melbourne for my PhD. I would often get quite a few Australian customers when working in the industry in Vietnam and all of them seemed so certain I would not be satisfied with the diving around Melbourne. In the end, I was not expecting that much until I arrived and checked it out for myself. I was mind-blown – by all the amazing creatures I could see underwater in Port Phillip Bay, but also by the fact that very few people seemed to be aware of them. The Bay is more than a thriving ecosystem, however. It is an important tourist and recreational destination, and a busy transit space for imports and exports. It is no surprise, then, that Port Phillip Bay faces the challenges associated with its proximity to Australia’s fastest growing city.
At Remember The Wild, Australia’s first nature connection charity, we believe that Port Phillip Bay deserves a bit more love. So we decided to create Connected to Port Phillip: a new initiative that aims to bring attention to the wonders of the Bay and educate the public on how to best care for this unique ecosystem. Each year, the initiative will culminate in summer festivals to celebrate our connection with the Bay, starting in early 2019. It will also include the production of educational resources for the Bay’s various stakeholders and a sign-up program for businesses to demonstrate their environmental stewardship.
The festivals will be the perfect opportunity for government, non-profit organisations and community groups to educate the public on the health of Port Phillip Bay, showcase the work that they do for the Bay and its connected waterways, and encourage the community to take ownership of its health. Attendees will be able to indulge in great food, exciting entertainment, unique crafts and fascinating information about our wonderful Bay – there will be something for all ages to enjoy and take part in. Films portraying the beauty of the Bay and talks from experts that call Port Phillip Bay home will satisfy a wide audience. Our hope is to generate enough enthusiasm and interest to make the festivals an ongoing celebration of the marine world, and attract sponsors for future years.
While some funding has already be secured, we need a bit of help to make the festivals unforgettable, and this is where you come in. If you believe that we need a positive environment in which to share our love for marine wildlife and habitats, as well as a regular platform to reveal Port Phillip Bay’s treasures and generate a desire to see them preserved, please vote to support our initiative via Pick My Project. Lastly, I would love for you all to join us at our first festival early next year and help us make it as memorable as possible.
In order to vote for our Connected to Port Phillip initiative via Pick My Project, voters will need to set their location as ‘Mornington’ – the location of the first festival. This will allow you to vote for our project and two others in this local area. Please follow the below instructions if you are unsure of how to vote:
1. Visit https://pickmyproject.vic.gov.au/ and create an account.
2. Set your location as MORNINGTON, VIC.
3. Vote for Connected to Port Phillip summer festivals, and two other projects.
4. Help spread the word about our project so that others can vote and we can make the festivals as memorable as possible!
Remember The Wild greatly appreciates your support for our initiative and our beautiful Bay.
Banner image courtesy of Elodie Camprasse.