In a world first, residents are being asked to switch off their lights for 60 minutes at 7.30pm on Tuesday, 12 November for Turtle Hour.
Bundaberg Regional Council environment portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said the initiative was a special pre-Milbi Festival event.
“Turtle Hour will coincide with the launch of the Reducing Urban Glow project’s light sensors which are in place to monitor light pollution along our coastline,” Cr Honor said.
“This event is about joining together to show our support for the conservation of the turtle population which has made our coastline an iconic tourist attraction.”
However Cr Honor said Turtle Hour was more than just a novelty event.
“The event is essentially a living lab, with the data that will be collated by the light sensors during this time acting as a baseline for the project moving forward,” he said.
“Anyone who participates will be taking part in Australia’s largest ever light pollution experiment in support of sea turtle conservation.
“Reducing Urban Glow is a major project which can’t be achieved without support from the community.
“Tackling urban light pollution takes a whole of community approach, so let’s come together on 12 November and show our commitment to protecting our turtles.”
Local business signs on for Turtle Hour
Kellys Beach Resort Bargara was the first business to pledge support for the Turtle Hour campaign.
Owner Loni Hammond said the resort would be switching off as many lights as possible during the event.
“We’ve got a restaurant on-site, so we’ll definitely turn all the power off there,” Loni said.
“We’re going to encourage all the guests to turn their lights off.”
As an eco-certified business Loni said Turtle Hour was an initiative she fully supported.
“It creates real awareness for the importance of pollution management for the turtles, not just for our visitors but the community.
“I think it’s a great way to spread awareness.
“The whole festival is a great way to bring people around celebrating what we have as well as education and conservation.”
In addition to supporting Turtle Hour Loni said she was keen to work in with the Reducing Urban Glow project and a potential Turtle Tick program currently in concept stages and supported by locally based Sea Turtle Alliance.
Under the proposed program businesses would be given a checklist of criteria to meet to show that they are turtle friendly.
“As part of being a ‘greenie’ business we always want to learn what else we can do to help.
“It’s a really great initiative of Council.
“We all talk at meetings but having this accreditation gives us the plan and objectives to meet.”
Some of the positive initiatives the resort already has in place include a low voltage business sign and a tree planting sponsorship program within the Barolin Nature Reserve.
“We have so much appreciation for how beautiful and how lucky we are to live in this place.
“We just want to try to do our best to protect it.”
The Reducing Urban Glow Project is funding by the Australian Government under the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, along with the following project partners: Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science; Ergon Energy; Burnett Mary Regional Group; Central Queensland University; Greenfleet on behalf of The Prince’s Trust Australia; Bundaberg Tourism; and Sea Turtle Alliance.