In the year 2000, a new school initiative was developed called the ‘i sea, i care’ Marine Ambassador program and it continues today. A primary school joins for the year and selects up to 4 students from Grades 5 and 6. These students are passionate about the environment and are looking to become future stewards and champions for Victoria’s marine environment, their own backyard!
Throughout the year DRI provides a variety of workshops that develops their leadership skills and teaches them about the marine environment. These include peer teaching where they learn activities to teach the junior students; catchments and pollution (where does the litter come from and how does it end up in the bay), coastal land management and heritage (with local rangers and Aboriginal guides) and, of course, the inspirational boat trip out to see seals, gannets, sea dragons and, hopefully, dolphins.
To date, there have been over 2000 Ambassadors who have been a part of this unique program and some of the earlier students have now graduated in environmental science and are applying for jobs at Melbourne Water and DEPI, with ‘i sea, i care’ on their resumes!
In 2013 we were very proud to win an award for our program at the Victorian Coastal Council Awards for Excellence.
DRI currently works with almost 350 Ambassadors from 80 schools across Melbourne and this is expected to grow to 110 schools and 480 Ambassadors in 2015. Over the last three years, we have developed specific ‘i sea, i care’ partnerships with City of Kingston, Bayside City Council, City of Casey and Mornington Peninsula Shire. This program allows young people to experience opportunities they would not normally get, to communicate with a wide audience and give something back to their local environment.