Nature Conservation Margaret River marine stewards organise school holiday beach clean-ups

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Protect The Tides members Lili Palmer, Ruth Szandtner and Bronte Halden.
Camera IconProtect The Tides members Lili Palmer, Ruth Szandtner and Bronte Halden. Credit: Trevor Paddenburg

The region’s young marine ambassadors are inviting their peers to engage in a little school holiday fun alongside social responsibility.

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s young leaders are co-ordinating beach clean-ups during the school holidays, including at Flinders Bay on July 8 and Ellensbrook Beach on July 11.

The busy bees were developed under Nature Conservation’s marine youth program, with young residents Ruth Szandtner, Bronte Halden, Lili Palmer, Vivi Corteen-Hartley and Riley Hughes forming an initiative called Protect the Tides.

The five-piece formed from the 12 members of the program wants to focus on reducing marine debris on local beaches while also educating residents about the risks.

Miss Szandtner, who attends school in Bunbury, has already run one beach clean-up with her school.

“Researchers are finding birds with their bellies entirely full of plastic,” she said.

“Hearing about that made me realise the severity of plastic of our marine life.

“It’s so sad. That’s why I want to act for the environment, pick up plastic and make a difference.”

Miss Halden said a recent beach walk in Augusta distressed her after she found large amounts of washed-up rubbish.

“We found almost 600 items in one hour at Quarry Bay,” she said.

“You might think throwing away a piece of rubbish isn’t that bad, but it can wash up on a shore anywhere in the world.”

Miss Palmer urged residents to take personal charge of local beaches.

“So many of us have a passion for the ocean and the beach — it’s such a great resource, but not if we ruin it,” she said.

“This is a way to give back.”

Collected waste would be used in an education and awareness-raising campaign at Augusta Primary School, with students using the debris to create ocean-inspired artworks for exhibition at the Margaret River Heart later this year.

The exhibition will be run as a public art contest, with the winner receiving two free whale-watching tickets from Cape Naturaliste Charters.

To register interest, visit natureconservation.org.au.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails