The weekend of Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd, Fishcare representatives from the Melbourne and South West region attended the 4th Sharing the Love 4 Conference in Somers. There were around 40-50 participants mainly from various marine focused volunteer community groups across Victoria from Warrnambool in the West to Beware Reef in the east. Also in attendance were staff from Parks Victoria, Coastcare Victoria, Reefwatch Victoria and Victorian National Parks Association. The conference was located at Lord Somers Camp, close by the aptly named Mushroom Reef.
Fishcare had the opportunity to present what we did as an organisation to the various “Friends of” groups who may not have heard of us. We got the chance to pick and choose various “Marine Vignettes: Sharing Skills and Knowledge” where we split up and attended to learn about how to engage in diverse communities, how we can replace the clip board with smartphones, and a very interesting and open-ended discussion on how do you monitor the health of Port Phillip Bay. We ended the weekend at Mushroom Reef Sanctury where we got to test out new sampling/monitoring techniques used by Friends of groups and Parks Victoria. Staff and volunteers were inspired by like minded organisations at this conference and our take aways were ideas to better engage with culturally and linguistically diverse communities as well as encouraging and adopting available technology and software to become more sustainable and efficient! Watch this space!