The 2016 Coral Reef Management and Leadership Program, funded under the Australia Awards Fellowship Program, brought together 17 participants from around the world to share experiences and learn from world experts on coral reef management. Current and emerging leaders from the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean regions visited the Great Barrier Reef 9th – 29th October to observe first-hand Australia’s world-leading coral reef management and learn new skills and knowledge.
The program included two courses – one on high level leadership for marine resource managers, and one on excellence in reef management, with participants from each course coming together during a one-week overlap period on Orpheus Island Research Station. This program was based off feedback we received in 2015 after last year’s Coral Reef Management and Leadership Fellowship.
Coral reefs are in grave danger around the world. Australia is recognized as a world leader in coral reef management. Building capacity for better coral reef management strengthens the foundations for sustainable development in countries where coral reefs are key to human well being.
The Fellows heard from experts from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Reef HQ, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University, the University of Queensland, and Reef Ecologic. They joined industry trips to the Great Barrier Reef, conducted site visits with leading innovators in reef-based industries, and participated in several practical management and networking sessions.
Measuring improvement of skills of fellows
We measured the leadership and management skills of the fellows before and after the course. Over 92% of the fellows improved their leadership and management skills with an average improvement of 20.3%. The majority of improvement was in management (16.1%) and leadership was 4.2%.
Some of the comments from course participants included:
“This is such an awesome experience where I learned a lot from the participants and facilitators. There is never a program I’ve gone where people become bonded together like this group.”
“It was an amazing course. It not only looked at the theoretical side of things, but sought to reach the core of people, passions, and values, which is what translates to our work.”
“This is an amazing opportunity to learn contextual knowledge on coral reef management and leadership skills. Activities, field trips and learning material were interactive.”
“Overall everything has been excellent and I enjoyed the program very much."
Measuring feedback on the program
We sought numerical feedback (out of 10) from the fellows on a range of performance indicators which showed that presentations by experts, field trips and support crew were very highly rated.
Presentation from experts 9.58
Field trips 9.57
Other / overall 9.11
Communication and outreach conducted during the program:
International media articles
7 Local News Townsville (4:48-6:35)
Australian media articles
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority newsletter
Joint public lecture at Reef HQ given by program participant Jaime González-Cano and ReefBlitz