World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day is celebrated on 8 June. The theme for World Oceans Day 2020 is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.” The Marine Environments is divided up into three main ecosystems; Oceans, Coral Reefs and Estuaries.

There are the five major oceans that cover the world including the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Southern Oceans. Coral reefs are small in size when compared to the oceans, but around 25% of marine species live in the coral reefs ecosystems. Estuaries are areas where rivers and streams flow into the ocean. This area where freshwater and saltwater meets, creates an ecosystem diverse plant and animal life often called the ‘nurseries of the sea”.

Our oceans make up 71% of the earth’s surface and they contain the greatest diversity of life on Earth. Habitats range from the freezing polar regions to the warm waters of the coral reefs, deep sea hydrothermal vents to shallow seagrass beds and beautiful sponge gardens to giant kelp forests, marine organisms are found everywhere.

Find out ways to take action on World Ocean day

World Oceans Day 2020 VIRTUAL EVENT Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.

There are also some great video and resources on Science Club Live.

Together We Can Protect Our Home.

Find out more with Sydney Science Education

Uncropped AEE logo with dragonfly icon

World Bee Day

World Bee Day was created to spread awareness of the significance of bees and other pollinators for our survival. 

World Bee Day is celebrated on 20 May: Helping Protect our Bees

Australia has more than 1600 native bee species. There could be as many as 2000 to 3000 still to be identified. Australian native bees are wonderful pollinators, especially for our native plants. 

Most Australian bees are solitary bees which raise their young in burrows in the ground or in tiny hollows in timber. Australia also has 11 species of social native bees which do not sting.

What can you to to help native Bees?

There are a lot of ways that you can create a safe habitat for your local bee. Make sure you are Bee aware and don’t use pesticides in your garden and use the information below to create bee homes.

Find out more about the importance of Native Bees

We’re Buzzing about World Bee Day!

Uncropped AEE logo with dragonfly icon

Sydney’s hidden garden

Diving in Sydney is a great experience, there is literally a secret garden hidden beneath the surface. Sandstone rock formations, incredible sponge gardens and a huge diversity of marine life is waiting for you to explore.

Watch this video to get a taste of what is hidden beneath the surface.

I know not everyone is interested in scuba diving so I thought I would share some of the amazing species I saw on my last dive at Long Reef and Old Mans Hat in Sydney with you. You can experience what I saw without leaving your house.

Giant Cuttlefish

The Giant Cuttlefish Sepia apama are one of my favourite animals to find on a dive. They are inquisitive and playful and amazing to see. They can change the colour and texture of their skin so quickly that it almost looks like they are flashing. One of my favourite moments was when I found a Giant Cuttlefish under a ledge, I offered it my occy (secondary air hose) that has a fluro yellow end. The Cuttle was fascinated with the colour and movement, it came in very close, extended a tentacle and tried to take the occy. It was unforgettable to have a personal interaction and be so close to these highly intelligent animals. You can find out more about the Giant Cuttlefish on the Australian Museum website.

Sydney Octopus

My sister spotted a Common Sydney Octopus Octopus tetricus trying to hide in the rock wall. Their camouflage is truly incredible and are very hard to find. One tip is to look for a a pile of discarded shells from their last meal. You can find out more on the Australian Museum website

Blue Groper

The Eastern Blue Groper Achoerodus viridis is a familiar sight for Sydney Divers. The friendly Blue Groper often follows you around while you are on a dive. I have been surprised more than once to turn around and be face to face with one of these guys. You can find out more about the Blue Groper on the Australian Museum website

Weedy Sea Dragon

I was very lucky to see 5 Weedy Seadragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus at Old Mans Hat yesterday. They camouflage by hiding in the kelp and you need to look carefully to find them. People will often find their dried bodies washed up on the shore after storms. You can find out more about the Weedy Seadragon on the Australian Museum website.

Spotted Wobbegong

It is not unusual to find a Spotted Wobbegong Orectolobus maculatus hiding under a rock ledge or spotting a tail through a gap in the rocks. My sister pointed the Wobby hiding under a ledge at Long Reef. You can find out more about the Spotted Woobegong on the Australian Museum website.

Grey Nurse Shark

I was excited to see so many Grey Nurse Sharks Carcharias taurus yesterday. At one point I was swimming along the top of the rock wall will a adult swam in time below, it must have been almost 3 metres long. I was mesmerised watching this majestic animal and wondered why these sharks create a panic with so many people.


Nudibranchs are sea slugs, they are small, colourful and slow moving. Approximately 382 species have been found along the NSW coastline. I saw several of the Nudibranch Polycera hedgpethi pictured below on my dive yesterday. I usually see a couple of different species on each Sydney dive. You can find out more about the variety of Sydney Nudibranch on the Sydney Dive website

Polycera hedgpethi ©Sarah Han-de-Beaux

Sponge Gardens

Sponge Gardens are hidden gardens beneath the sea. The Sea Tulips and sponges move in the current to create a surreal environment. It feels like you are in another world.

What can you do to help preserve this amazing environment?

  • Remove any rubbish that you find in the water or on the beach
  • Remove any bits of fishing line and nets that you see
  • Be aware that what you do on land impacts our marine systems downstream
Australian Environmental Education logo with dragonfly

My dive the with Sharks

I just finished an amazing Scuba dive at Long Reef Sydney. The boat dive was booked specifically to see the Grey Nurse Sharks (Carcharias taurus) and we weren’t disappointed. The current was strong and as I peered over the edge of the rock wall into the gutter I saw at least 7 Grey Nurse Sharks.

As my eyes adjusted I began to see more detail as the sharks swam back and forth along the gutter. I was mesmerised watching this critically endangered species and wondered why these sharks create a panic with so many people. Is it their size, teeth or eyes that make people I speak to uneasy? The Grey Nurse Shark may be large and have a lot of sharp pointy teeth, but are not considered harmful to humans. The Grey Nurse Shark actually feeds on range of fish, other sharks, squids, crabs and lobsters which are pierced with these sharp teeth.

Watch this video to experience what it is like to be in the water with these beautiful animals.

I am always surprised when I tell people I dive, that one of the first responses is aren’t you worried about sharks? I find this strange because finding sharks on a dive is a highlight. Some trips are specifically planned to find sharks.

In the 25 years that I have been diving I have never felt afraid in the water. I show respect to all the marine life and dive to the conditions. I feel privileged to be part of this underwater world, especially when I find a shark.

Sharks I have seen in Sydney Waters

Grey Nurse Sharks Carcharias taurusThe east coast population is listed as critically endangered Current threats are believed to include: incidental catch from commercial fisheries, recreational fishing and the bather protection programs
Ornate Wobbegong Orectolobus ornatus VulnerableThe main threat to the wobbegong continues to be overfishing.
Spotted Wobbegong
Orectolobus maculatus
VulnerableThe main threat to the wobbegong continues to be overfishing.
Port Jackson
Heterodontus portusjacksoni
Listed as Least Concern on the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List, the egg cases have very high mortality rates (estimated at 89.1%).  Vulnerable to being caught as bycatch.
Dusky Whaler Carcharhinus obscurus Vulnerable Extremely susceptible to overfishing.

Did you know

  • Male Grey Nurse Sharks bite females during the courtship process. In the breeding season it is common to see small scars on the females
  • Sharks are able to swallow air at the surface of the water in order to give them buoyancy control
  • They have large, sharp teeth, but they are not very strong and break easily
  • The Grey Nurse Shark was the first protected shark in the world when it was protected under New South Wales legislation in 1984.

How you can help

Australian Environmental Education logo with dragonfly

World Octopus Day

World Octopus Day is on the October 8th, I think these amazing animals should be celebrated everyday along with other Cephalopods: Squids, Cuttlefish and Nautilus. The largest Cephapods are the Giaint and Colossal Squid that are over 10m in length, this makes them the largest invertebrates. The smallest cephalopod is the squid Idiosepius, at only 1cm. The Colossal Squid also has the largest eye in the animal kingdom that is about the size of a soccer ball.

Credit: Bristol ridin/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Learn about 10 different species of Octopus with Ocean Scuba Dive

World Octopus Day 8 October Infographic

Welcome to Australian Environmental Education

Australian Environmental Education is a place to discover more about the natural world.

Copyright @ Australian Museum

I think Threatened Species Day an appropriate time to launch Australian Environmental Education. As a day to raise awareness of plants and animals at risk of extinction. It is also a day to reflect on what we can do to make a difference. Australian Environmental Education is my responses to that question, this is what I can do to make a difference.

I have been developing and delivering Environmental Education programs for the last 20 years and I am a passionate advocate of hands on learning. I have been developing a range of programs to make learning natural science easy. Science Made Easy are hands on programs aimed at increasing scientific literacy through investigations and experiments. Programs are designed to empower kids and provide them with the knowledge and skills to continue their learning.

I will post useful ideas and resources for engaging your student in environmental education and to become environmental citizens for our future.

To start off I have collated some resources and links for Threatened Species Day

Uncropped AEE logo with dragonfly icon