Greenfleet Blog Feed

It’s a wrap – Inaugural Low Glow Collaboration week a success
Print

It’s a wrap – Inaugural Low Glow Collaboration week a success

When Greenfleet CEO Wayne Wescott planted the first of 80,000 trees at Barolin Nature Reserve in August last year, the exciting project that would follow was not on our minds yet. Little did we know that the plants that had gone into the ground would later inspire us to create a community activation program – Low Glow!

 

The trees, turtles & tourism connection

Mon Repos Conservation Park is a global treasure, supporting the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland. Loggerhead turtles are listed as critically endangered and the success of nesting and hatching turtles is critical for the survival of the species.

Artificial coastal lighting is one of the major threats to the turtle population. With the bright lights of human civilization, the hatchlings become disoriented. The urban glow leads them inland, away from the safety of the sea. 

However, Greenfleet’s trees will protect the sea turtles as well as other wildlife from artificial lights after the sun has set. With our forest being adjacent to the Mon Repos turtle beach, our trees were planted with the goal to become a ‘green curtain’, blocking off the light pollution. By protecting the turtles from the light glow of surrounding communities, our trees also help to protect a unique tourism attraction from potentially vanishing.

So when the first tree was planted, we knew that the remaining 79,999 trees that were about to be planted would capture more than 50,000 tonnes of carbon and become a self-sustaining ecosystem over the next years. We certainly didn't think of protecting turtles as yet! But now, we can safely say that the Barolin forest is our first planting site that will be protecting sea turtles.

The Low Glow week

Last week, the Greenfleet team, as well as our project partners The Prince’s Trust Australia and The Walt Disney Company (Australia), celebrated the inaugural Low Glow week in Bargara – the little town next to the Mon Repos turtle nesting beach. 

We cannot tell you how lucky we felt to have a very special guest presenting throughout the week: Dr Blair Witherington, Disney Sea Turtle Biologist and Conservation Programs Manager from Florida, had travelled all the way from the States to speak about the challenges that he and his team at the Disney Animal Kingdom are facing when it comes to protecting sea turtles from light pollution.

photo_Blair

The beaches in Florida face very similar challenges to Mon Repos. Blair said “People often ask me what they can do to help sea turtles. I usually start with some simple things we can do at home to make sure these animals are protected.” 

During a big community event with almost 100 attendees, Blair gave very practical and doable tips around managing light around our own homes and businesses. The community members had lots of questions and suggestions around how to make a home 'low glow' - see the below tips and tricks that Blair shared with us. 

photo_community_meeting

The Business event during the following evening was focussing on the 'economy' of turtles, given the strong connection of the turtles being the region's most well-known tourism magnet. The question for all of us was: How do we protect our turtles for the long term to ensure that the 30,000 people that visit Bundaberg each year can continue visiting the area and observing sea turtles nesting and hatching at Mon Repos? 

Surely, there is no light bulb moment needed to understand that tourism equals hotel beds, restaurant meals, supermarket goods and many other economic benefits for this beautiful region. Protecting sea turtles is a key component to the success of both the local community and the business community.

photo_turtle_nesting_on_the_beach

Last but not least, Blair visited two local primary schools and gave wonderful presentations to nearly 150 school children. We were amazed by the knowledge the kids have about sea turtles – yet, after all they grow up so close to Mon Repos that nearly all of them have done a 'Turtle Tour' before (click here to book if you'd like to be part of this amazing experience). Once again it became clear that early education is key to long term, sustainable management of conservation tasks such as protecting sea turtles. Blair was full of hope after seeing all the children keen to learn more about how they can help to protect the sea turtles at Mon Repos.

photo_Blair_with_local_school_children

 

photo_Blair_with_local_school_chrildren

We are sharing with you some key outcomes, tips & tricks from last week's events. Have a look below and check if your home might be contributing to light pollution. Remember that artificial lights are changing the circadian rhythm for all wildlife as well as us humans! There are many good reasons to review your light management at home. After all, dimming and switching off lights will save money, too. 

 

Is your home low glow?

 

Think about how your house or premises are lighted:

1. Do the Low Glow lighting audit - check your conservation light score! Click here to download it for free!
2. "Does this light do any good?" You might be surprised at how many unnecessary lights there are.
3. Replace overly bright lights with low wattage LEDs closer to the ground.
4. Use motion-sensor lights and timers for security lighting.
5. Position and shield lights so they shine down (and away from the beach).
6. Hide lights by lowering, recessing, and shielding.
7. Replace poorly directional lights with fixtures that have good light control.
8. Plant vegetation to create a light barrier.
9. Strive to correct lighting so that none can be seen from outside your house.

Every night before you go to bed:

1. Switch off unnecessary lights, especially ones facing outwards.
2. Close curtains and blinds at night for beach-facing windows.
3. Check that there are no outside lights on (especially facing the beach).
4. Turn off advertising signage when your business closes for the night, if applicable.
5. Inform your power company about efficient roadway lighting.
6. Keep track every night by using the free Low Glow calendar – print it out and pop it onto your fridge!

Learn more

Let us know if you're interested in learning more about the Low Glow Collaboration. Contact Greta Korthaus greta.korthaus@greenfleet.com.au or visit our Low Glow Photo Gallery to see all the small and big events and meetings from last week!

 

School_presentation_with_Blair

 

School_children_reading_low_glow_brochure

Name:
Email:
Subject:
Message:
x
Print Friendly and PDF