What is a Nurdle?

July 26, 2019 // Colleen Hughson // No Comments // Posted in Blog, Community, Environment

It was September 2017 where the word Nurdle first entered my vocabulary. I was doing some internet research on cotton bud marine pollution and found Scotland’s environmental charity organisation FIDRA website. They run the ‘The Cotton Bud Project’ tackling sewage-related cotton bud marine pollution and had a sister campaign called ‘The Great Nurdle Hunt’. Little did I know at the time that I would ever see a nurdle and how many times I would be writing and vocalising that word in the following 18 months.

It didn’t take long at all for me to find my first nurdles. Was it one day or a couple of days after I’d read about them on that site that I was at the beach collecting them?

It felt odd that a problem plastic I read about happening on the other side of the world, that seemed so foreign, could be here on my local beach. My beach, ‘Shelly Beach’, is quite a distance away from any city, industry or stormwater outlet.

And, weirdly enough, the third campaign on the FIDRA website was around microplastics. Why is that weird? Because the beach that I was cleaning in my volunteer time, had all three problem plastics at concentrated levels; cotton buds, nurdles and microplastics.

Oh, wait, you still have no idea what I’m talking about do you? “Nurdle?” you ask, “What’s a nurdle?

I made this video with Tangaroa Blue Founder Heidi Taylor to explain. It was nurdles that brought Heidi to Warrnambool town. And, not just a few nurdles; but a ‘Class 2 State Emergency’ Nurdle spill.

So, it was September 22nd, 2017 that I collected my first nurdles and wrote a Facebook post about them and then, just two months later, we had a large spill of nurdles – possibly millions- into the ocean via our local waste water treatment plant. And then, the word ‘nurdle’ was known to many (well, in our town anyway).

There is plenty to this ‘nurdle’ story and I’ve supplied a load of links below for you to peruse. And, I mean loads! Maybe our locally polluted nurdles were always destined for notoriety… it was only one week before the fated ‘Nurdle spill’ that a photo I took of nurdles on Shelly Beach made the UK’s Huffington Post.

If you would like to become a Nurdle Hunter and help rid the sea of nurdles then please join my Facebook page Good Will Nurdle Hunting.

Here is a very short glossary of terms to familiarise yourself with:

Nurdle: Nurdles are pre-production resin pellets. They are the raw material used to make nearly all our plastic products.
Nurdling (Verb): The act of collecting nurdles.
Nurdle Hunt: To look for and collect nurdles.
Nurdle Hunter: A name for a person who collects nurdles.


Orange-bellied Parrots mainland release

August 23, 2017 // Colleen Hughson // No Comments // Posted in Blog, Environment

The migratory Orange bellied Parrot is critically endangered and very close to extinction in the wild.

Less than 50 are left in the wild and the OBP National Recovery Team are doing all they can to save this beautiful little parrot.

One of the actions they are trialling is a mainland release.

DELWP, Zoos Victoria, Melbourne Water, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, Parks Victoria and the Tasmanian Government are partnering to deliver a Mainland Release Trial Program in Victoria for the Orange-bellied Parrot.

These Orange-bellied Parrots have been released at the Western Treatment Plant in Werribee as part of an innovative program to try to prevent extinction in the wild. With less than 50 Orange-bellied Parrots thought to exist in the wild, these management actions have never been more important for the future of this species.

Inspirational landholder conservation stories

August 14, 2017 // Colleen Hughson // No Comments // Posted in Blog, Environment

If you ever feel disheartened about the state of our environment you may feel hopeful to know that all around the countryside landholders are doing amazing things to conserve nature. Such as farmers who re-plant parts of their land, fence off waterways and look after native grasslands & birdlife. The Corangamite CMA do an amazing job of seeking out individuals who are caring for their land and give them extra support to do so through the Coastal Tender and Plains Tender Funding Programs. Here are some of those stories.

Feeling blue, touching green

Feeling blue, touching green from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

A farmer finds peace and hope through conservation works on his property, in the face of battles with depression and grief.
Doug Lang, a fifth generation farmer from Ballintore, north of Colac, shares his battle with depression and grief, and the therapeutic benefits of working with Mother Nature. The film captures significant changes in him and his wife’s personal and emotional well-being, and draws synergies between their own survival through the loss of a daughter, and the survival, resilience and abundant return of local birds and plants. Transforming his property was possible through the Australian Government National Landcare Programme funding through the Plains Tender program managed by Corangamite CMA

Farmer to custodian

Farmer to custodian from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

In this inspiring clip, Bob Swinburn shares his journey in restoring his property located on the shoreline of the Ramsar listed Lake Connewarre. He shares some of the results he has observed as well as the pride and sense of well-being the work has provided him.

Bob Swinburn, a farmer on the shoreline of the Ramsar listed Lake Connewarre, born on a place with international significance, has created an oasis for the plants and animals over his lifetime. This film captures his personal change from childhood to adulthood, from farmer to custodian, and his great pride in creating a refuge for migratory birds. He is an active participant in the Coastal Tender program managed by Corangamite CMA and funded by the Australian Government National Landcare Programme.

Helping the land to heal

Helping the land to heal from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

A husband and wife duo’s natural extension balancing their environmental passion with financial necessities.
Gus Poulston and Louisa-Jane Cunningham have forged a formidable partnership by balancing environmental outcomes with financial requirements on their Shelford property, or as they see it ‘giving something back’. Their extensive work has led to setting seed for native grassland recovery, whilst demonstrating the benefits and possibilities of balancing successful farm life with preserving the environment for future generations. They have been long term participants in the Plains Tender program funded by the Australian Government National Landcare Programme, managed by Corangamite CMA.

A family affair

A family affair from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

Three sibling’s story about working together to restore habitat for the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot.
Cath Bell, and her two siblings, have overcome drought and flooding rains, on their Peterborough farm to assist with improving Orange-bellied Parrot habitat on the banks of the Curdies River. The family reflect on past practices, navigating a path forward, whilst balancing productivity, environmental and community needs. By working together they have overcome obstacles creating remarkable outcomes in a unique part of Victoria. Funded by the Corangamite CMA and the Australian Government National Landcare Programme, the project has uncovered a family passion for the environment and brought the community close

From little things, big things grow

From little things, big things grow from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

By working together, the partnership between Corangamite CMA and Parks Victoria has strengthened, enabling the increased protection of our national parks along the iconic Great Ocean Road.
The film captures Parks Victoria’s successes and challenges in implementing their duty to protect and native flora and fauna, and exploring what this means as custodians of public land. The project has ensured a long term commitment be made to the successful management of woody weeds in the Great Otway National Park. The partnership model between Corangamite CMA and Parks Victoria, has now been extended to other public land management sectors. The project was possible through five years of Australian Government National Landcare Programme funding, managed through the Corangamite CMA.

Handing down the baton

Handing down the baton from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

One family’s generational journey to protect the endangered Corangamite Water Skink.
Lismore farmer, Sandy McBean, shares his family’s commitment to protecting numerous endangered species, namely the Corangamite Water Skink, Brolga and vital wetland habitats. Enhancement of native grasslands, protection of remnant vegetation, and restoration of wetlands over numerous decades has benefited the environment, balanced farm productivity with environmental outcomes, and lead to a richer lifestyle for the McBean family. Sandy, a long time participant of the PlainsTender programme, was funded by the Australian Government National Landcare Programme, managed by Corangamite CMA.