It was an evening of celebration and conservation under the light of just the full moon when the community came together in Bargara to celebrate the Milbi Festival's Turtle Hour.
Turtle Hour was held at 7.30pm on Tuesday, with hundreds of homes and businesses turning the lights out for 60 minutes.
The event coincided with the launch of Bundaberg Regional Council's Reducing Urban Glow project’s light sensors, which are in place to monitor light pollution along the coastline.
While the research is still in its early stages, Council's environmental spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said the project would be integral in managing glow rate for years to come.
“This research will be used as a long-term tool to manage light into the future,” Cr Honor said.
“What we want to see are long-term trends that show reduction in light, not an increase in light.
“By monitoring light source through heat mapping, we are able to tell what areas we should be focusing on to reduce the glow.”
Turtles need dark space
Sea Turtle Alliance member Trish Garrad said the inaugural Turtle Hour event was a step in the right direction to protecting the turtle population in the Bundaberg Region.
“Turtle Hour is a great initiative and is definitely something that is needed in the community,” she said.
“The overall aim is to reduce the glow in the night sky so our beautiful turtles don't get disorientated.”
Trish said light glow not only affected the adult turtles during nesting season, but was also a huge problem for hatchlings ready to make their way to the shore.
“The baby turtles get attracted to the artificial light and they will follow it,” she said.
“Instead of making their way to the ocean they end up every where else, at the park or even at the shops!
“Turtles like to have a dark beach and it is important as a community that we participate in helping to reduce that urban glow.”
Celebration along Bargara foreshore
The region's coastline was transformed into a a place of celebration from late afternoon until the lights went out for Turtle Hour 2019 yesterday.
Unity Drummers and community members welcomed the turtles at Bargara as well as the full moon.
Jake Sinclair attended the event and said he was very supportive of Turtle Hour and what it meant for the sea creatures.
“Turtles were here way before we were and being such a big breeding area for them, I am all for it,” he said.
“It's one of those things you do as a community.
“Lights affect them big time, along the foreshore most of the street lights are all orange to try and decrease the glow.”
Naomi Parker was also at the event and said she was thrilled to be part of Turtle Hour.
“I think it is a great idea, it is good for conservation and the turtles,” she said.
“If it is going to bring about positive results for the turtles, that is great.”