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Ocean lovers sought for Margaret River youth marine stewardship program

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Simon Tien with Mandy Polley and Joe Knight.
Camera IconSimon Tien with Mandy Polley and Joe Knight. Credit: Trevor Paddenburg

Young ocean lovers are being urged to move quickly for the opportunity of a lifetime to learn from some of the biggest names in coastal conservation.

Applications for the first run of Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s youth marine stewardship program close next week for the program seeking 20 youngsters with a love of the ocean and a desire to help conservation efforts.

With rumours a major international company waiting in the wings to ink a sponsorship deal, the program was free for participants and would work towards the not-for-profit’s ambitious sustainability goals.

The successful applicants will have the chance to work hand-in-hand with leading experts in the field including University of WA Ocean Institute’s Dr Tim Langlois, Undalup Association cultural custodian Zac Webb and Margaret River Surf Academy trainer and mental health professional Simon Tien.

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Participants will also be first on deck helping professional athletes in local conservation efforts when the World Surf League’s Margaret River Pro hits town in April.

Program coordinator and Shire of Augusta-Margaret River councillor Tracey Muir said the program was the first of its kind for the region.

Taking part will allow participants to learn as they work to progress a grassroots conservation project targeted the region’s coast, she said.

“It’s an incredible, free-of-charge opportunity for young people in our region to attend really engaging workshops that would normally cost hundreds of dollars each,” she said.

“We want you to get in touch if you’re aged 15-18 and live between Dunsborough and Augusta, have a passion for the ocean and coast, want to learn some incredible skills, and make a real difference in our coastal community.

“The fantastic thing about this marine youth stewardship program is that it’s designed to inspire our next generation of coastal custodians – local young people who know and love the ocean but also want to protect it.”

Nature Conservation general manager Drew McKenzie said the community as well as those taking part stood to benefit.

“The coast is a great source of inspiration, fun and recreation for many of us, but our goal is to inspire locals to be custodians and stewards for the coast too,” he said.

“This program really aligns with our motto of ‘connect, respect and act’.

“That means acting with respect, treading lightly, knowing and understanding the flora and fauna, joining a coast care or environment group, and giving back.”

To register by Tuesday, February 13, visit www.natureconservation.org.au.

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