Learn about the wonders of the sea

Dr Liz Hawkins, a marine scientist with the Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre, will be conducting regular educational talks in Byron on marine wildlife starting next Thursday.

If you want something fun to do with the kids these holidays that will inspire and educate at the same time, a new series of talks looking at the diverse marine environment could be just the thing.

The talks will be held every Sunday and Thursday at the Byron Community Centre, starting next Thursday, January 24. They are being presented by Oceanteach, a new initiative of the Pacific Marinelife Institute, the Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre and Whales Alive, which aims to raise awareness of the marine environment, its ecology and conservation.

Every Sunday a talk called Byron Bay Marine Wonders will provide an introduction to the local marine environment. The topics at the Thursday presentations will be alternated and will include whales and dolphins, marine small wonders, weird or dangerous creatures, as well as rays and sharks.

These are going to be informative presentations suitable for the whole family; for travellers coming to Byron Bay; for divers who want to learn more about the creatures they encounter; and for curious locals who want to learn more about their backyard, said Dr Liz Hawkins, a marine scientist with the Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre, who will present the 90-minute talks.

Dr Hawkins has recently completed a four-year study on dolphins in the Byron Bay region, which found that distinct whistles used by dolphins indicated specific behaviour. Her work was recently reported in New Scientist and in various media outlets around the world.

The proceeds raised from Oceanteach will be used to fund the ongoing Byron Bay Dolphin Research Project and support the launch of the Pacific Marinelife Institutes Reefhabitat Project in Byron Bay.

A new adopt-a-dolphin program will be launched at the first Oceanteach session on January 24. This program, which involves a sponsorship of $55 a year, will help raise funds for the Byron Bay Dolphin Research Project.

The Oceanteach presentations will be held each Sunday and Thursday evening from 6.30pm. The cost is $11 for adults, $8 for children and $9 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Group bookings can be made by emailing lizhawkins80@hotmail.com or phone 0407 646 069.


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