Marine Protection

Chatting with the winner of the Valerie Taylor Art Award

In conjunction with our Celebrations of Sanctuaries campaign for better marine protection, we had a chat with the 2016 winner of the Valerie Taylor Art Award, April Greer.  Inspired by the big blue, we had some very talented artists submit their incredible work, however the panel felt April’s beautiful design was well worthy of the inaugural title.  April will be flying from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland to Sydney, to create her inspiring ocean artwork in Market Lane, Manly on 28 January 2017.

As an artist and environmental student, you have mentioned before that the inspiration for your art comes from nature. Has this always been the case and from when?

I grew up in the Noosa hinterland and spent most of my early years down at creeks banks, spending hours exploring my surroundings and patiently watching wildlife such as platypus, snakes and birds in their natural habitats, I was instantly drawn to them and think this is where my passion for nature and the environment begun, it sparked a passion to want to learn more and protect and preserve our precious environment.  I love painting and combining my two passions for both painting and the environment is a true dream.

What is your preferred choice of paint medium and why?

I use a range of mediums, but my favourite would be acrylics, I like their versatility and brightness.

Could you take us through your creative process from start to finish?

I guess every piece starts from a moment, a feeling, which sparks an idea for a new painting to be created, sometimes that feeling comes from exploring tropical rainforests or snorkeling reefs or simply being in nature or sometimes even watching David Attenborough documentaries!  My art always comes from a moment where I am inspired by something, filled with passion and eager to get it on canvas! 

What are some environmental issues most concerning to you?

My biggest concerns would have to be climate change and pollution.  Especially ocean plastic pollution and its effects on those creatures such as sea turtles and sea birds which accidentally ingest it.

Do you have a favorite ocean critter or landscape that you love to create?

Oh there are so many favourites!  But, sharks are probably my number one favourite animals to paint, I am just fascinated by them.

If you could give the average person some environmental tips, what would it be?

I would suggest starting with simple things such bringing your own reusable coffee cups instead of using single use coffee cups, or buying in bulk to reduce packaging, using eco bags when shopping, learning about recycling and maybe start a veggie/herbgarden...  Even picking up a few pieces of rubbish off the beach on your morning walk will make a positive difference.  I think we can all get caught up in the fast lane and it can be really hard to be mindful of our environment, but every little bit counts.

As the winner of our inaugural Valerie Taylor Art Award, what piece of advice would you give to aspiring artists?

I would tell them to always follow their passion and inspiration, and just give it a go!


 You can follow other beautiful creations by April Greer on instagram:


Ocean Care Day 2016

It just wouldn't be Ocean Care Day without a parade of people dressed as their favourite marine creatures dancing to the beats of samba music! Such a fun way to kick off the day and we couldn't help having a little dance too as the sharks and jellyfish floated by our stall.

Plastic Free Manly

The highlight of the morning for us at SO Manly was a visit from the Northern Beaches Council Administrator, Dick Persson. He told us that our project to reduce single-use plastic on the Northern Beaches was being recommended for approval, meaning that we would have funding for this campaign in 2017. We believe it was the success of Plastic Free Manly in 2016 that led to this wonderful news so we'd like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the Plastic Free Manly volunteers that made this possible!!

Valerie Taylor Art Award

During the opening ceremony we heard from Valerie Taylor as she announced April Greer to be the winner of the Valerie Taylor Art Award. In the art tent, the applicants displayed their entries along with other art works. It was clear that the panel of judges had a tough choice as there were some great ideas for the Celebration of Sanctuaries street art. April will be painting a mural in Market Lane in January 2017 so watch this space for more news on our marine sanctuaries campaign.

Boomerang Bags manly launch

The Boomerang Bag community have been busy working to have enough bags to supply the Manly area and today we celebrated their fabulous effort. There are 14 businesses that have signed up to host a Boomerang Bag box in their shop which means that there will be #noexcuseforsingleuse in Manly. If you forget to BYO Bag you can pick up a Boomerang Bag to borrow and bring it back with you next time you shop. Also, if you're feeling generous, you can donate some of your extra green bags to the box to save someone next time. And if you love to sew, head to the Boomerang Bag Headquarters at 63 Alexander Street, Manly (entry on Balgowlah Road opposite the pool) on Mondays from 9:30am to 2:30pm. Check out @BoomerangBagsManly for updates.

Seaside Scavenge

We were super stoked that our stall was directly opposite the Seaside Scavenge. All day we saw people being rewarded for their beach cleaning efforts. The Seaside Scavenge is not just any beach clean- its market where you trade trash for treasure and listen to good tunes! We enjoyed the chilled vibes of Portia Briana Music and the blissful strings of mermaid Miska. We also learned even more about our little plastic problem with some great trivia from Captain Plastic (Plastic Pollution Solutions). Find out more about the day and the next Seaside Scavenge here.

Shark Rally- no shark nets

Hundreds of ocean-loving friends gathered on the beach to listen to key speakers and protest the out-dated shark net program in NSW. We've had some progress with the government trialing new initiatives to protect swimmers but it seems to have gone backwards recently with new nets being rolled out and the use of "smart drumlines" (lets be clear, it is not smart to bait a hook bringing sharks closer to swimmers and catching other wildlife in the process). The unfortunate fact is that its not possible to protect 100% of surfers and swimmers all the time because there will always be a very small risk. No matter what measure is taken, there will always be human-shark interactions if we swim in the water and some might result in a bite or fatality but that is unavoidable. Culling sharks, along with turtles, rays and countless other by-catch is not the answer to alleviating our fears. Find out more on this issue at Sea Shepherd and Fin Free Sydney.

Thanks for making this day such a special celebration of our local marine life!