LOW GLOW

About the project

  • Creating a low glow community to protect endangered sea turtles
  • An initiative by Greenfleet, the Prince's Trust Australia and The Walt Disney Company, Australia
  • 80,000 native trees planting

 

Greenfleet has joined forces with The Prince’s Trust Australia and The Walt Disney Company to create a local community activation program with global reach: Low Glow.

The Low Glow campaign aims to engage the community to measurably reduce the light glow around important turtle sites in Queensland, to maximise the hatching rates of turtles. With artificial coastal lighting being one of the major threats to the endangered Loggerhead turtle population, Greenfleet is proud to work with the community, and in partnership with The Walt Disney Company, Australia and The Prince’s Trust Australia, to create community-activation solutions that support the health and wellbeing of the turtles as well as the natural environment of the Bundaberg region.

 

Tree planting day in the Barolin Nature Reserve   Barolin Nature Reserve   Turtle hatching. Photo by Queensland Government

 

Why it matters

Mon Repos Conservation Park in the Bundaberg region is a global treasure - it supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and records the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region. Loggerhead turtles are listed as critically endangered in this region and the success of nesting and hatching turtles at Mon Repos is critical for the survival of the species.

During November to March, you have the opportunity to join with thousands of other visitors to see this amazing event.

Our community, economy and environment are closely linked. Around 30,000 people visit Bundaberg each year to observe sea turtles nesting at Mon Repos ‒ that equals hotel beds, meals, supermarket goods and other economic benefits for our region. Protecting sea turtles is a key component to the success of the local community.

Artificial coastal lighting is one of the major threats to the turtle population. Once hatched, the turtles must find their way out to sea, and they follow the lowest brightest horizon they can see. With the bright lights of human civilization, the hatchlings become disoriented. The urban glow leads some inland, away from the safety of the sea.

In 2017, Greenfleet planted 80,000 native trees in the Barolin Nature Reserve, adjacent to Mon Repos, to grow into a ‘green curtain’ to help screen the light while capturing more than 50,000 tonnes of carbon over 30 years. Another planting will take place in 2018.

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. Technology is providing new options, with a focus on low spectrum lighting, better shielding of streetlights, use of sensors and remote management of lighting.

 

More about the turtles

Bargara is located at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef and is known for its turtle beach, Mon Repos. Loggerhead turtles have come to Bargara for decades to lay their eggs, which hatch about six weeks later. One of the key threats for hatchlings is the light-distraction from the surrounding communities, roads, houses & hotels, schools and other venues. Instead of finding their way to the ocean, hatchlings move towards the brighter, artificial light sources and become exposed to predators (foxes, goannas), exhaustion or entanglement. As only one in 1,000 hatchlings makes it to the age of 30, which is when they become mature and lay their own eggs, survival rates for hatchlings are crucial for this species. This problem presents a worldwide issue and researchers, communities and corporate organisations are working on different approaches to tackle the issue.

 

Is your home low glow?

Think about how you house or premises are lighted:

  • "Does this light do any good?" You might be surprised at how many unnecessary lights there are.
  • Replace overly bright lights with low wattage LEDs closer to the ground.
  • Use motion-sensor lights and timers for security lighting.
  • Position and shield lights so they shine down and away from the beach.
  • Hide lights by lowering, recessing, and shielding.
  • Replace poorly directional lights with fixtures that have good light control.
  • Plant vegetation to create a light barrier.
  • 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.

 

What is your conservation light-score?

Download this PDF and take note of inefficient lighting around your house or business that may affect the environment

Low Glow Light Audit - Brochure

Download the Low Glow Calendar and use it to track turtle sightings and your own Low Glow actions


Download the Low Glow Calendar and use it to track turtle sightings and your own Low Glow actions

 

Resources

 

Media Centre

 

Dr Blair Witherington, Nov 2017   Students with the Low Glow Calendar   Turtle coming to shore