Low Glow Campaign

  • 80,000 native trees planting
  • A project by Greenfleet, Prince's Trust Australia and Disney
  • Protecting endangered turtles

About

Greenfleet has joined forces with The Prince’s Trust Australia and The Walt Disney Company to create a local community activation program with global reach: Low Glow.

The Low Glow campaign aims to engage the community to measurably reduce the light glow around important turtle sites in Queensland, to maximise the hatching rates of turtles. With artificial coastal lighting being one of the major threats to the endangered Loggerhead turtle population, Greenfleet is proud to work with the community, and in partnership with The Walt Disney Company and The Prince’s Trust Australia, to create community-activation solutions that support the health and wellbeing of the turtles as well as the natural environment of the Bundaberg region.

Tree planting day in the Barolin Nature Reserve   Barolin Nature Reserve   Turtle hatching. Photo by Queensland Government

Why it matters

Mon Repos Conservation Park in the Bundaberg region supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and records the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region. Loggerhead turtles are listed as critically endangered in this region and the success of nesting and hatching turtles at Mon Repos is critical for the survival of the species.

Artificial coastal lighting is one of the major threats to the turtle population. Once hatched, the turtles must find their way out to sea, and they follow the lowest brightest horizon they can see. With the bright lights of human civilization, the hatchlings become disoriented. The urban glow leads some inland, away from the safety of the sea.

In 2017, Greenfleet planted 80,000 native trees in the Barolin Nature Reserve, adjacent to Mon Repos, to grow into a ‘green curtain’ to help screen the light while capturing more than 50,000 tonnes of carbon over 30 years. Another planting will take place in 2018.

Through the Low Glow campaign, we are developing a better understanding of the ways humans in urban areas interact with nature and use lighting at home and outdoors, including streetlighting and carparks. Technology is providing new options, with a focus on low spectrum lighting, better shielding of streetlights, use of sensors and remote management of lighting.

 

More about the turtles

Bargara is located at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef and is known for its turtle beach, Mon Repos. Loggerhead turtles have come to Bargara for decades to lay their eggs, which hatch about six weeks later. One of the key threats for hatchlings is the light-distraction from the surrounding communities, roads, houses & hotels, schools and other venues. Instead of finding their way to the ocean, hatchlings move towards the brighter, artificial light sources and become exposed to predators (foxes, goannas), exhaustion or entanglement. As only one in 1,000 hatchlings makes it to the age of 30, which is when they become mature and lay their own eggs, survival rates for hatchlings are crucial for this species. This problem presents a worldwide issue and researchers, communities and corporate organisations are working on different approaches to tackle the issue.