The Corangamite CMA give small grants to community groups working in the natural environment. One of these grants is the Coastal Small Grants fund and one of the recipients of this fund is a group called SANE (Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment).
SANE is a group of surfers who have been looking after the Bells Beach Reserve for the past 30 years. They remove weeds, plant indigenous plant species and educate the community on how to lessen the negative impacts that they have on the environment.
When SANE started the Bells Beach reserve was heavily degraded. The dunes & cliff tops were seriously eroded, it was riddled with tracks, rubbish and weeds, there were very few native plants and the carparks were dirt paddocks. It is hard to imagine looking at it today that it could’ve been in such a sorry state. Few visitors to Bells Beach realise that the lush vegetation and wildlife they see are a direct result of the dedication and commitment of SANE.
The SANE group realised back in the 80’s that if they wanted a beautiful and healthy environment then they would have to look after it themselves. They realised that they couldn’t rely on the government or the Torquay Shire to do the work. There was a shift in thinking from blaming their local council for the state of things to realising the responsibility lies with individuals and communities to act.
The CCMA support a number of community environmental groups along the coast. If you’re involved in conservation then check with the CCMA what funding opportunities might be available to you. If you’re not involved in conservation but realise after watching this that you should be, then it might be a good idea to join your Landcare or Coastcare action group.
Oceanarium was created for the 2016 Fun 4 Kids festival in Warrnambool. This year it travelled to Colac and spent a week at COPAC for the kids of Colac to enjoy. We are hoping that Oceanarium will travel further afield to educate and delight all those who experience it.
I am one of the four artists who created Oceanarium which was led by artist Becky Nevin Berger. I created the Open Ocean Video Sphere which is a series of video artworks interwoven into the main rocky shore installation. As part of my role I ran community film editing workshops and involved the community in the production of the films. During the 2016 Fun 4 Kids Festival, Open Ocean Video Sphere had a total of 87 short films screening over 21 screens (including 5 projections, 5 Old TVs, Digi-Frames and flat screen TVs embedded into Rock Pool Sculptures). There were 26 people who contributed over 200 Gig worth of video footage towards the project and a further 85 people involved in the video editing workshops creating short films with the footage for the space.
Below are some video interviews with all the four artists involved in Oceanarium.
The following words are by lead artist Becky Nevin Berger
Oceanarium is a multi-artwork installation developed especially for children from ages 2-12. It has been designed as a way to deepen children’s appreciation and understanding of the marine environment.
Four artists worked with Deakin University marine scientists to create a beautiful world that captures the different aspects of marine ecology. Oceanarium recreates the rocky shore, an underwater kelp forest, the dark, deep ocean environment and is interwoven with video screens showing footage of the many creatures that inhabit these worlds.
This child centred installation allows children to participate on multiple levels with an array of sensory mediums and different modes for exploration built in.
Rocky Shore Wonder Place
NOTE: This video titled Oceanarium Installation at Fun4Kids, 2016 was created by Distan Bach.
A series of timber sculptures made by artist Becky Nevin Berger. It replicates the rocky shore environment along Warrnambool coastline. Children can climb on these sturdy timber cliffs, across bridges and through hidden caverns and tunnels. Coloured lights and Perspex illuminate this magical world which has rock pools and rock flaps filled with handmade marine creatures.
Open Ocean Video Sphere
Combining projected video with various embedded screens woven through the installation this series of films has been made by film maker Colleen Hughson. Using an array of footage from Deakin University’s own collection, from divers and beach goers, as well as captured herself, Colleen has created beautiful and dynamic works that bring the ocean to life in this installation.
Woven Forest Whale Sanctuary
This hanging textile work has a footprint of approximately 25sq m, it was made by artist Deb Saunders with material knitted by more than 600 participants in a series of community based workshops. A set of seven hanging knitted tubes simulates an underwater kelp environment creating an immersive, tactile space that filters light and creates dancing shadows.
Deep Ocean Other World
Presented in a dark room adjoining the main installation space this textile artwork recreates the very deep sea environment. Created by artists Karen Richards and Sue Ferrari this work is comprised of intricate embroideries using iridescent thread that illuminates when lit. Participants enter the space wearing head torches that reveal countless deep sea creatures rendered in amazing detail.
Keep up with the latest photos and events on the Oceanarium Facebook Page
Read my blog about the process of creating the Open Ocean Video Sphere.