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In 2012 Expedition Class and Skullbone were combined in an epic coastal trek around Tasmania and multimedia education resource that primary schools and high schools joined for different legs of the journey. An examination of marine debris in each area was one of the main topics, as well as other issues relating to the coastal management and history in each of the areas visited. Schools were invited to join Andrew and supporting experts for a day on the coastal leg closest to them, and the four Skullbone schools (Scottsdale High, Smithton High, the Jordan River Learning Federation and Ogilvie High) joined Andrew for a week to visit some very remote coastal places.

Some 2,000 students and volunteers participated, with approximately 1,700 sharing their results online: a whopping 36,000 pieces of plastic pollution and other rubbish collected, weighing nearly 2,000 kg. Teacher curriculum guides and student activity books were available, and the information each school collected with Andrew was categorised and recorded in an interactive online map and database. Schools undertook further projects with it, from learning about the importance of marine ecology to creating their own marine debris art!

Interstate schools also participated, with schools joining the program online from Darwin to Geraldton, and the project continues in a new partnership with the Alcorso Foundation into 2014 and beyond!

THIS PAGE is your starting-point to access the full Coastwatchers multimedia resource:

  • See below for exclusive video content and updates from the Coastwatchers expedition itself (and links to longer versions of some films);
  • See the Expedition Class Coastwatchers page for access to the teacher resources, daily reports, expert forum, interactive rubbish dump and art-work components of the expedition;
  • See the Coastwatchers media archive for the massive and sustained local media attention on the project;
  • See the Plastic Pollution webpage that started it all, and the Coastal Waste webpage where the program now continues to this day.


COASTWATCHERS and related videos (most recent at the top):

In addition to the below videos, longer versions of the Jordan River, Ogilvie, Smithton and Scottsdale High expeditions can be seen on the Skullbone video page.

Scottsdale High meets Andrew for a week in South West Tasmania in one of the last sections of the COASTWATCHERS expedition, and then Andrew forges for the finish line...

It's the wild west coast's turn for a clean, as Andrew takes a group of students from Scottsdale High on the third of the week-long marine debris surveys and coastal explorations that sit within the bigger COASTWATCHERS trip. Here's preview of what they got up to...

COASTWATCHERS hits the north coast of Tasmania, with highlights of cleanups from Bridport to Smithton..

The second week-long expedition of COASTWATCHERS 2012, this time with the girls from Ogilvie High heading to join Andrew on Flinders Island for beach cleanups, but also a few other adventures along the way...

COASTWATCHERS 2012 has included a series of week long adventures for some lucky schools. Here's a glimpse of the Jordan River Learning Federation's trip to Recherche Bay with Andrew, the Tasmanian Land Conservancy, and the crew of Magic Miles.

COASTWATCHERS is back after a two week break for the school holidays. To re-start the project, here's a look back at where Andrew and the schools were before the break - including the work some schools have done to spread the message and even to use materials that would otherwise be thrown away!

Senior Ranger MICHAEL GARNER from the Parks and Wildlife Service shares his passion and knowledge for the natural world with the students:

COASTWATCHERS hits the first really wet and cold weather, but plugs on regardless! More schools are adding to the online Rubbish Dump, and the first examples of art made from the collected rubbish are coming in. The first week-long expedition to Recherche Bay with students from the Jordan River Learning Federation is just around the corner as the expedition component starts to ramp up...

COASTWATCHERS has hit the beach running. See the results of some of the schools involved in the first days of this epic 4 month expedition. Several schools are still sorting and counting the debris they collected, while others have already uploaded their information online!

COASTWATCHERS was launched on 16 July 2012 by the Tasmanian Minister for Education, Nick McKim, and environmental entrepreneur Robert Pennicott. Footage of the very first COASTWATCHERS clean-up and survey, hosted by the Woodridge Marine Discovery Centre with students from the Woodbridge School, can be seen here:

Andrew prepares for the Coastwatchers Expedition. Perhaps he should have checked the condition of his bike a bit earlier...

Andrew Hughes, our Expedition Class teacher, introduces COASTWATCHERS and explains more in the following clip:

A live blog from the 2012 South West Marine Debris Cleanup can be seen our Expedition Class page, along with information on how your school or community groups can access further information (including teacher guides and student activity kits) and be involved in addressing this problem.

Ninna Millikin joined the 2011 South West Marine Debris Cleanup to document the hard work of Matt Dell and his volunteers on Tasmania's remote south-west beaches. The following two video pieces tell that story - one in summary (first clip), one in greater detail (second).  

WARNING: the second clip contains some stunningly beautiful footage, but also some stunningly disturbing images.

FULL MINI-DOCUMENTARY (below): WARNING - some images may shock

Despite being a wild and largely unvisited area, found within one of the planet's most significant World Heritage Areas, a vast quantity of marine debris - especially plastic pollution - washes up here from all around the globe.

The Cleanup is made possible by the support and hard work of the sponsors and volunteers listed in the videos. Filming and editing was made possible with the support of the Bookend Trust and the Southern Waste Strategy Authority.


A photo-essay on the issue of plastic pollution can be found in PDF format below, including the story of the south-west Tasmanian clean-up and the parallel experiences of the Envirothon winners on Lord Howe Island, as well as information on the problem with microplastics.




To obtain DVD copies of these video clips for educational purposes, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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Last Updated on Friday, 06 June 2014 14:20  
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