Passionate volunteers and community spirit drew more than 1,500 locals and visitors to almost 100 free events for the 20th anniversary of the 2016 Summer by the Sea program in the Barwon South West region.
The Victorian Government supported Coastcare to deliver the popular annual program and Coastcare Facilitator Emma Dart said: "A big thanks particularly to our volunteers and communities and contractors that made this year's program a success.
"Their support for these family-friendly events goes a long way to keeping environmental protection front-of-mind for us all."
"Young and old alike flocked to events across 22 locations across the Surf Coast, Bellarine Peninsula and South West coast, proving that Summer by the Sea resonates as strongly as ever after two decades," Ms Dart said.
Summer by the Sea is a joint effort between volunteers, not-for-profits, Coastcare and landcare groups, land managers, small businesses and the Victorian Government.
A wide range of beachside activities were delivered in the Barwon South West region by Coastcare Victoria, Parks Victoria, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Friends of Merri Marine Sanctuary, Bellarine Catchment Network, Bellarine Bayside Committee, the Marine Freshwater Discovery Centre at Queenscliff, Habitat Connection and Eco-Logic Environment& Education Services.
"The top crowd favourites were the many Rockpool Rambles across the region, particularly across the Surf Coast and Bellarine where we had an influx of visitors, with stand-up paddleboarding and canoe cruising sessions also in hot demand at Torquay," Ms Dart said.
"In the Far South West, other popular activities were Mel Wells' Gannet Gawk and Talk at Point Danger, the Shearwater arrival tours run by Friends of Griffiths Island and Dr John Sherwood's presentation "Fire and Ice - the making of our landscape"
"It showed us once again that families continue to embrace Summer by the Sea and highlights how much they like learning about local wildlife and habitats."
The dedicated website www.summerbythesea.vic.gov.au launched this year was a hit with users, who had an easily accessible way to find and book the events they were interested in.
Victoria's coastal environments are fragile and strongly affected by introduced plants, animals and human behaviours. These environments can be protected by responsible use and management, and the ongoing dedication of coastal volunteers whose efforts are celebrated in the Summer By The Sea program.
Coastcare Victoria urges those with an interest in their local marine or coastal environment to become a coastal volunteer and make a positive difference by contacting Coastcare (South West) at Sw.Coastcare@delwp.vic.gov.au
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