Eco-Logic Autumn 2013 Newsletter

Welcome!
It’s been a great summer along the Surf Coast with lots of snorkelling, paddling, rock-pooling and heaps of other activities happening. The water temperatures have been very warm and the Humpbacks and Southern Right Whales are making an early return to our coast.

ANewsletter04We’ve also been spotting amazing critters like Albatross, echidnas, a Wedge-tailed Eagle, Blue Blubbers (Sea Jellies), By the Wind Sailors, and lots of fabulous fish. The Surf Coast is home to a magnificent suite of plants and animals as well as being a great camp destination.

ANewsletter03Struggling to cover the curriculum? Here are some ideas?
As the weather cools a little we are offering a range of activities to keep your groups engaged, informed and active. Our staff are all graduates and experts in their fields of teaching, science, outdoor education and recreation.
For VCE OES, Biology and Geography groups, our programs offer curriculum- specific content away from the text-books. Biodiversity, sustainability and human impacts are key themes. Experiential learning is the basis for our teaching approach. Talk to us about a tailored program.
For Middle Years students we offer Inter-tidal Studies, our Geology-based Rock of Ages session, endangered species Bush programs, and a water quality-focussed Estuary Discovery –perfect for VELs and the National Curriculum! These are hands on, wet feet, fun activities.
For Junior and Early Secondary students our focus is on learning through play and adventure. Catch and release netting for fish, climbing inside a lighthouse, exploring the bush for animals, searching for fossils and poking around in ponds and rock pools are some of our activities.
Check out our Activities page for more info.

Travel expenses
Often the bus is the most expensive component of a trip away from school. One of our enterprising schools from NSW travelled by train to Geelong and then the V-line bus to Anglesea, saving themselves $4,000. They were able to walk to all of their sessions with us. The school self-catered at the Surf Club, with parents providing frozen dinners that were transported in the school car.
We aim to make our prices affordable for all schools as part of our philosophy of equity and access for all.

ANewsletter02Whales
Our beautiful local whales are arriving now from the Antarctic to give birth and to mate for the following year. Our pods of Humpbacks and Southern Right Whales swim the 4,000 kilometres to Bass Strait and remain here for the winter (they think its warm!).Other groups head up the east and west coasts of Australia. Incredibly, the birthing females will go for four months without eating while their milk-fed baby calves put on a couple of tonnes in weight. That’s maternal generosity!

From our lighthouse balcony whales can sometimes be spotted as they cruise past. Why not book your group in for a tour? You’ll find out about the Shipwreck Coast and the lives of the early lighthouse keepers.

Summer201301The Great Ocean Road
Our special road has been Heritage listed, confirming an open secret that this is one of the most stunning coastal scapes world-wide.

The newly refurbished Surf Coast Walk is a great hiking destination for groups.

Eco staff can interpret the trail for you, and provide the expertise, infrastructure and backup you need.

Industrial Campaign
Thanks to you for working hard to fit our activities around your 38 hour week campaign. It is a difficult balancing act for all of us. For Outdoor Education teachers, in particular, the pressure is on to cover the curriculum requirements. At Ecologic we support the campaign (we are teachers too) and we also need to ensure our viability as a business. Some schools have altered their programs to fit activities into a school day, while others on camp have organised extra staffing. Hopefully the EBA will be resolved soon. We are happy to run extra programs over autumn to catch up some postponed bookings.

Summer201304Creature Feature – Cuttle Fish

Ever wondered which animal belongs to those strange white floaters washed up on the beach. They are the back-bone of a Cuttle Fish.

It’s a member of the Cephalopod family –along with Squid, Octopus and Nautillae. Cuttlefish have large, W-shaped pupils, eight arms, and two tentacles furnished with suckers, with which they secure their prey. They generally range in size from 15 to 25 cm.

Cuttlefish eat small molluscs, crabs, shrimp, fish, octopuses, worms, and other cuttlefish. Their predators include dolphins, sharks, fish, seals, seabirds, and other cuttlefish. Their life expectancy is about one to two years. Recent studies indicate cuttlefish are among the most intelligent invertebrates. Cuttlefish also have one of the largest brain-to-body size ratios of all invertebrates.

ANewsletter01

Photo: Rebecca Hosking

Friends of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary

Ecologic staff are members of this newly formed Friends group. Located at Aireys Inlet, this park protects 17ha of ocean waters and projects about 300m offshore. Composed of both hard basalt and rubbly limestone, the cliffs are full of caves and ledges. The shore is covered with boulders and offshore there are two large rocks: Eagle Rock and Table Rock. Table Rock has been levelled by incessant waves whereas Eagle Rock is a tall volcanic stack capped by limestone.

The intertidal and subtidal, basalt and sandstone reefs provide habitats for many species. The rock platforms are covered in the iconic brown seaweed Neptune’s Necklace. Within the rock pools you can find fascinating creatures such as octopus, chitons and decorator crabs. Offshore, Eagle Rock and Table Rock are fringed with swirling Bull Kelp and in deeper waters colourful sea tulips and encrusting sponges can be found. The beautiful habitat provided by these species supports a vast array of marine life from wrasse and mullet to Cat Sharks, Port Jackson Sharks, skates and rays. Many birds use the area as feeding and roosting habitat and at certain times of year you may also be able to spot whales passing through the area.

Along the shore, there are ancient Aboriginal cooking and feasting sites called middens. The middens in this area date back over 2,000 years. Within them, one can find remnants of a range of molluscs including Turban Snails, Elephant Snails, mussels and even Maori Octopus. These invertebrates were critical food sources for coastal Aboriginal people (Parks Vic).
Contact us to become a member.

Why not explore this fascinating area as part of an Ocean Snorkel, a Rock pool Ramble, a Fossil Safari or Hike.

We hope you enjoy a well-earned rest. Pop in and see us if you are holidaying on the Surf Coast!