By Nathalie Fernbach
Five environmental groups, traditional land owners and city council will join forces to raise awareness of the hazards facing sea turtles and to examine ways to protect the creatures.
Geoffrey Bay Coastcare, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Department of Environment and Resource Management, the Sea Turtle Foundation, Queens Beach Action Group, Wulgarukaba traditional owners and Townsville City Council will examine the biology, habitat, nesting habits, threats to and management of turtles around Magnetic Island during a turtle nesting workshop this weekend.
Geoffrey Bay Coastcare's Vandhana hopes the workshop will act as a catalyst to get more locals and visitors involved in turtle care.
"I'd like to see a collaboration of individual community members and the organisations that exist to get together and use all of their knowledge and their education and work together more... to support the rescue of turtles and also to enhance the areas that turtles are most likely to nest at".
In addition to degradation of the turtles' nesting sites due to natural erosion and cars driving on the beach, sea turtles have been struggling to find food since cyclone Yasi explains Vandhana.
"The sea grass that the turtles feed on has been covered completely by sand so there is no food for them, the beach has been eroded, the foreshore has been eroded which means it could change in shape and even accessibility for turtles coming up..."
A turtle themed artwork created by Magnetic island school students will also feature at the workshop.
"I feel very strongly that children have a lot to say about environmental issues and the children on Magnetic Island especially are very aware of the environment, the marine environment and the land environment" adds Vandhana.
The turtle nesting workshop will be held on Sunday 25th of September from 1:00pm at the Magnetic Island Bowls Club as part of the Bay Days Festival.