Under the guidance of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Greenfleet, The Walt Disney Company (Australia) and The Prince’s Trust Australia have been working with the local community to activate the Low Glow: Lights Out, Turtles About collaboration, designed to help protect Bundaberg’s endangered sea turtles.
On 6th April, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will travel to Bundaberg to meet with local residents and key representatives of the Low Glow collaboration to learn of all the ways in which the Bundaberg community are driving conservation efforts. His Royal Highness will find out first-hand about the work being done on his behalf to protect loggerhead turtles on Mon Repos beach, home to the largest sea turtle population on the Australian eastern seaboard.
Together with Bundaberg Regional Council, the Sea Turtle Alliance and Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism, the Low Glow collaboration is working tirelessly in preparation for the 2018/19 hatching season.
Artificial coastal lighting is one of the major threats to the critically endangered loggerhead turtle population as the distracting glow draws them inland rather than out to sea. Through the growing collaboration, Low Glow aims to address a number of climate change issues concurrently. From the Barolin Nature Reserve reforestation project to a community education campaign that encourages residents to ‘dim their house lights’ during the turtle breeding season between November and March, a visit from His Royal Highness will further highlight the importance of the work being done to protect and preserve the Great Barrier Reef and acknowledge the community’s collective efforts to drive change.
“The Great Barrier Reef is not only a national icon of Australia, it’s a global icon; and His Royal Highness has taken a personal interest in its conservation for future generations. I am extremely proud to be collaborating with Greenfleet and The Walt Disney Company in enabling community-led action to preserve one of our most unique valuable natural assets” says Janine Kirk, Chief Executive, The Prince’s Trust Australia.
In conjunction with the local community - who continue to play an integral part in actioning practical change - Greenfleet, The Prince’s Trust Australia and The Walt Disney Company (Australia) have facilitated direct and indirect strategies to protect the precious sea turtles, whilst regenerating the natural environment and the regional economy.
Led by the team at Greenfleet, the largest ever reforestation project in Bundaberg was conducted in May 2017. Over 80,000 native trees were planted across 89 hectares in the Barolin Nature Reserve, immediately behind Mon Repos beach. As it grows, the forest will sequester more than 65,000 tonnes of carbon and help protect the turtle hatchery from artificial light pollution.
The ‘green curtain’ provided by the trees will shield light from local industries, businesses and residencies, and help reduce confusion for turtle hatchlings as they make their way to the sea.
“Greenfleet is delighted to provide practical actions for the collaboration,” said Wayne Wescott, Chief Executive, Greenfleet.
“In 2018, we are planting another 5,000 native trees adjacent to Mon Repos beach to help further reduce the light glow around this important turtle site.”
The Low Glow collaboration was brought to life in November 2017 by a visit from Dr Blair Witherington, a world-renowned expert on sea turtles and Conservation Program Manager at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. Dr Witherington’s visit coincided with the commencement of the Low Glow community engagement initiative, including a series of educational calendars and flyers starring Disney’s Finding Nemo turtle characters Crush and Squirt.
“We are pleased and honoured to partner with The Prince’s Trust Australia and Greenfleet on this community initiative. We are delighted that our much-loved characters can help children and families take practical action for change through the reduction of their light pollution” said Kylie Watson Wheeler, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company, Australia and New Zealand.
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. The project will also encourage local businesses and the community to explore new technologies and ways of managing light while respecting their environmental assets.
This is only the beginning of the Low Glow story and we are excited to welcome His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to Bundaberg and update him on the progress made so far through the collaboration.
About Greenfleet: With 20 years’ experience, Greenfleet is Australia’s most trusted source of biodiverse carbon offsets. As an environmental not-for-profit organisation, Greenfleet’s mission is to protect our climate by restoring our forests. Since 1997, Greenfleet has planted more than 9 million native trees across Australia and New Zealand – restoring more than 475 native and biodiverse forests. The projects are funded by individuals and organisations that support Greenfleet’s work through carbon offset donations. Greenfleet partners with many of Australia’s leading brands, including The Walt Disney Company, Telstra and Smartgroup. Visit: www.greenfleet.org.au
About The Prince’s Trust Australia: The Prince’s Trust Australia provides a coordinating presence for the diverse portfolio of His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales’ Australian charitable endeavours. The Prince’s Trust Australia supports the development and delivery of innovative, high impact projects across three focus areas, including: addressing youth unemployment; supporting transitioning Australian Defence personnel in small business management; and encouraging sustainable practices for both the natural and built environment. Visit: www.princes-trust.org.au
About The Walt Disney Company: The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise. The Walt Disney Company has been active in Australia since 1988 and in 1992, the first office officially opened. There are now three offices in Australia and New Zealand – Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland – that employ more than 280 permanent staff. Today, The Walt Disney Company is one of the most active and largest foreign entertainment companies in Australia with diversified business in consumer products, publishing, mobile content, television and family entertainment programs. For more information about The Walt Disney Company please visit: http://corporate.disney.go.com/