My name is Laura Harris and I am currently studying science in Parks, Recreation and Heritage at Charles Sturt University, Albury Wodonga campus. Due to my interest in all things marine and my love of working with visitors, I figured that the SCMDC would be the perfect place to complete my work placement for university.
My first day of placement I was introduced to the centre’s marine life and exhibits and I soon felt very welcomed by the friendly staff. I was introduced to all the small animals that go in the centre’s touch tank and throughout the day I spoke to visitors and young children about all the animals in the tank. Some of these animals were sea snails, anemones and various crab species.
As the days went on, I engaged in a number of exciting activities. I was taken out to Aslings Beach to help search for and collect new animals to go into the touch tank. I was also given the opportunity to help with the ‘Rocky Shore Ramble’ tours. The tours include taking visitors (mainly children) down to rock pools and discovering local marine life – and they were lots of fun! Another highlight was taking a family snorkelling at Bar Beach in Merimbula. It was a family of four and I was partnered up with one of the younger girls. It was her first time snorkelling and it was very rewarding to see just how much she enjoyed the experience!
Although getting out and about was great, I also enjoyed the time spent at the centre. This included showing visitors around, feeding the animals, conducting research on various species, helping with craft activities and even dissecting an octopus!
Education and community involvement is a big part of what makes up the SCMDC and I was lucky enough to accompany Jill, the Marine Education Officer, to various events. One of these was the Pambula show. We set up a stall with its own touch pool, dried specimens and plaster painting for children. The stall was very successful and seemed to be one of the busiest all day! I also had the chance to see part of the Education program, Crazy Critters, when we visited a vocational care group in Merimbula.
All in all, I have had a great experience here. The centre is fantastic and the staff are wonderful. The placement has been everything I expected and more. It’s going to be sad to leave but I’m sure I will return for many visits in the future.