Project Manning River Helmeted Turtle workshop proves big success

Education is at the heart of everything we do at Take 3 for the Sea, from the simple message in our name to working with corporate partners and businesses on the importance of living a sustainable life.

However, it is in the classroom and with young people where we really shine and on Thursday, 20 young people from five different schools saw just how, as they attended our Project Manning River Helmeted Turtle workshop on the Mid North Coast at Yalawanyi Ganya, Taree.

The FREE workshop, in conjunction with Hunter Local Land Services, MidCoast Council and Taree Indigenous Development & Employment (TIDE) was open to students from secondary schools throughout the MidCoast with the aim to educate and inspire students to take proactive measures to reduce litter and plastic marine pollution.

The workshop – which had been postponed from March due to floods in the area – proved a big success with the student-driven project helping the young people understand the issue of plastic pollution and the danger it poses to freshwater and vulnerable marine creatures, in particular the Manning River Helmeted Turtle.

As well as focusing on the problem and impact, the workshop was all about utilising this knowledge to find a solution and create an education campaign aimed at raising awareness within the school or local community about marine debris issues.

Take 3 head of education and co-founder Amanda Marechal said: “We’ve had a fabulous turn out from our young student leaders.

“One of the most significant things about the day is that we’ve encouraged young people to come along who may not actually identify themselves as leaders but have an interest in the environment, conservation or Manning River Turtles, and this could potentially be a pathway to a career or give young people the tools to make change for good and influence their communities.”

Take 3 co-founders Roberta Dixon-Valk and Amanda Marechal taking action at the Project Manning River Helmeted Turtle workshop 

Thursday’s workshop is the third in a series of programs with past events including Project Green Sea Turtle and Project Loggerhead Turtle, with this year’s hero species the Manning River Helmeted Turtle, which was declared an endangered species in 2017.

All three programs are specifically designed to create student leaders, who can become experts and advocates for marine and freshwater creatures while also gaining a deeper understanding of local Aboriginal cultural, historical, and significant links to waterways and connection to land, from the perspective and guidance of Biripi elders and cultural people.

The next stage of the process is for the young leaders to share their ideas for simple solutions, through art, music, storytelling, short films, podcasts, or any creative way to communicate and capture their efforts via short film, PowerPoint, podcast and share at MidCoast Council chambers on June 23.

Sarah Henderson, a student from Gloucester High School has recently completed work experience at the reptile park and said: “I think these events are amazing, especially to raise awareness. The biggest thing is awareness so people can be understanding and passionate about these things.”

Many students shared deep concerns for the native wildlife they see in their backyards every day and brainstormed strategies to prevent plastic pollution from entering our waterways and harming these endangered animals. Thursday’s workshop supplied students with the tools they need to harness their passion for native wildlife and environmental change to make a real difference in their communities and become leaders of sustainability.

For more information on our education programs please contact Amanda Marechal via

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