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Welcome to Spring blues news
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Hello there, 

Welcome to our Spring E-Newsletter and I am excited to bring you up to date with Blue Whale Study (BWS) plans and activities. We are now preparing for the 2016-17 Blue Whale season which means getting our research vessel, Bonney Blue, fully serviced and the boat trailer safety checked. We hope to see many blue whales this upwelling season and gather as much data as possible for our blue whale photo-identification project. 

We wish you all the best over the holiday season and will be back in touch next year with our Autumn newsletter edition.

Dr Pete Gill
CEO/Senior Research Scientist

Field Projects

Photo-ID and Catalogue Project
This vital research project will hopefully regain momentum this season as we now have everything in place to gather data and photographically identify individual blue whales.  With thanks to Winnifred Violet Scott Charitable Foundation, Caroline Durré Foundation, Ray & Joyce Uebergang Foundation, Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation, Braidwood Fundraising Event, Klein Family Foundation and Australian Geographic Society we have enough funding to cover 2 aerial surveys and 7 small boat surveys.  This is very exciting and we just need the blue whales to make it all happen!

Blue whales are identified by their markings and other features particular to the individual.

Great Australian Bight Research Program 
During the 2015-2016 upwelling season, BWS was contracted by the South Australian Research & Development Institute (SARDI) to conduct aerial surveys to search for whales and dolphins on the outer shelf region of the Great Australian Bight.  To summarise this project Dr Pete produced a report on our findings for SARDI, which is available on the Marine Innovation Southern Australia (MISA) website.  It was important for BWS to be part of the Great Australian Bight Research Program as we had pioneered whale research in that remote offshore region. The information in the report will be shared with governments, research organisations, industry, community and environmental groups. We applaud MISA’s decision to make the reports publicly available. 

Marine Science Youth Mentoring Program
Discussions are now underway with local schools to select four secondary students to participate in the Marine Science Youth Mentoring Program.  This exciting and unique experience is being funded by The Isobel and David Jones Foundation and the Australian Geographic Society.  It involves 6 days of learning and includes 4 days at sea where students participate in marine science research activities, focusing on blue whale photo-ID. The program commences in February 2017.

Education is Vital

Dr Pete enthralling his audience at the Upwelling Festival, in front of ‘Bonnie’ a life size inflatable young blue whale.

Portland Upwelling Festival

Small talk for kids
Festival goers were treated to Dr Pete’s fascinating talk on the scale and life of blue whales, pictured above.  Aimed at young children, his talk, titled ‘All about the Blue Whales’, was filled with fascinating blue whale facts and information.  The blue whale is huge to us adults – imagine how extra enormous they must seem to little people!  
Click HERE for more info.

 

Marine Environment Talk
Dr Pete also presented an illuminating talk, “Environmental Crime of the Century: Secret Soviet Whaling After WWII”, on illegal Soviet Union whaling between 1947-72 and its impact on whale populations and in particular that of blue whales.  Aided with information researched by Dr. Yulia Ivashchenko and Dr Pete’s own historical resources, the presentation was a look at the bleak reality of the impact this whaling activity had – and still has - and how senseless it all was. 
Click HERE for full media release.


Photos below of Soviet whale hunting supplied by Yulia Ivashchenko

Upwelling Festival display tent
We had another great year at the Portland Upwelling Festival with many visitors to our tent and lots of support and praise given to the team.  It was great to see people interested in what we do and learn about the Bonney Upwelling and its significance to marine biology and the local economy.  Dr Maria Garcia, Dr Pete, and BWS committee members Dr Andrew Levings, Louise Sheba and Susie Lyons were also part of our tent team.  

Photo below Dr Andrew Levings and Louise Sheba in attendance at the Blue Whale Study marquee at the festival.

Kids Teaching Kids Conference
Dr Pete presented to some keen young marine scientists at the Kids Teaching Kids Conference held in Portland on September 2016.  He talked to participants about the life of a blue whale, their diet and the importance of the Bonney Upwelling area as a food source for blue whales.

Bayview College Marine Science Students
Bayview College Marine Science students were recently enlightened on the ecology of the blue whale and the Bonney Upwelling phenomenon.  Dr Pete presented to thirty Year 11 students who were keen to find out as much as they could about the largest living creature on earth.
Click HERE for more information.

BWS Media popularity

Dr Pete has been very busy being interviewed by the local media.   He gave a fascinating radio interview in October (regional ABC Radio) regarding the illegal hunting of whales by the Soviet Union.  Also, Dr Pete was interviewed by prestigious columnist for Fairfax Media, Tony Wright, who then wrote an article on blue whales for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. For full article go to: The Bonney Upwelling and Blue Whales
To view Blue Whale Study media releases issued since the last E-Newsletter click HERE

Annual General Meeting
Blue Whale Study AGM was held on 20th November 2016 and attended by 4 of our 5 Committee members (Dr Peter Gill, Susie Lyons, Louise Sheba and Dr Brad Page).  The Audited financial statements were presented and adopted and the same office bearers re-elected i.e. Ms Susie Lyons (Chairperson), Dr Peter Gill (Secretary), Ms Louise Sheba (Treasurer).   Dr Pete submitted a CEO report which was a positive reflection on the organisations performance last year.  All due of course to the hard work our volunteer committee members put into Blue Whale Study, the efficiencies of our small workforce and the highly valued support received from individual donors and philanthropic organisations.  BIG Thanks everyone.

Supporting Blue Whale Study

It is deeply touching when we gain new donors and supporters to our cause.  Our loyal supporters mean so much and their contribution to the scientific understanding and conservation of the endangered blue whale is highly valued. 

It is now time for the team to focus on raising funds for our 2017/18 season to secure the funds to continue annual aerial surveys, ocean based research projects and community education.  With your help, we can do it!

Here are some ways to support us and for more information, please head to our website Supporters page.

T-shirts!
BWS T-shirts are available for purchase in XL, L and S at a great fundraising price of $40 (includes postage).  Please support us by buying one and splashing our logo to as many people as possible. XL fits a range of sizes from 14 to 18.   The white looks crisp and clean and great for a Christmas gift.  Please email louise@sheba.net.au to order one or ring 0409505686. Limited numbers so first in best dressed (for sure)!

Become a regular donor
Our regular donors give monthly and annually and anywhere between $100 to $5,000.  We have designed a package of ‘gifts of appreciation’ relevant to the value of the donation.  The gifts are humble but are filled with appreciation for our wonderful donors.  Being a donor is so important as it boosts morale and spurs us on to continue our paid and volunteer work in the endeavour of securing a future for blue whale research in the Bonney Upwelling region.
Click HERE  to find out more. 

Get on Board with our Marine Science Youth Mentoring Program
Contributing to our Marine Science Youth Program is vitally important for this program to continue.  It is not government funded and occurs only due to the generosity of those that see the importance of science education for the youth of today.  It is the stepping stone to hopefully secure future marine science research on blue whales and provide inspiration to participants to continue their studies in this field at the local Deakin University which provides a Bachelor in Marine Biology.
FIND OUT MORE  & make a donation today

Help Us Help Them Learn about Blue Whales
Another unfunded activity we endeavour to uphold is our ability to provide continued presentations to primary and secondary schools.  Blue Whale Study tries to ensure this activity continues and through private donations we are able to provide sessions to ensure local students have the best opportunity to learn about their local environment. 
FIND OUT MORE  & make a donation today

Keep in touch via Facebook
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Blue Whale Study · C/ Post Office · Narrawong, Victoria 3285 · Australia

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