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Oaks Beach family reduces the glow

Reduce the Glow
A hatchling starting its journey in front of the “turtle friendly” home

The Mitchell-Greville family at Oaks Beach are leading the way in reducing the glow from their beachfront home to protect turtles.

Heath and Ange recently built a home near a turtle nesting area and decided to make it as turtle friendly as possible.

“When we moved to this spot we were informed by the local turtle ranger Dianne about the need to cut the glow in this area because of the turtles,” Heath said.

“From day one we decided to go with full length block out curtains and blinds and we purchased smart lights for the entire house to minimize our impact.”

Reducing the glow important for whole region

Reducing the Glow
The view from the beach of the new “turtle friendly” home at night

Heath said that reducing the light onto the beach area was not just important for their family, but for the whole region.

“The turtles bring in a massive amount of tourism to the area and if we don’t start reducing the glow it’s going to affect their nesting cycle,” he said.

“We invested quite a bit of money in smart lights and made them all down lights so we can minimise the impact from our lighting.

“Our outside lights are all set to red at a low level and inside we’ve got full length curtains and dual blinds – with day shade blinds and full block out blinds on all windows.”

Heath said that the whole family is committed to reducing the glow onto the beach.

“We call out ‘it's turtle lock down time’ and the kids go upstairs, close all the blinds, pull the curtains and make sure any lights are off where they’re not needed.

Heath said while LIFX smart bulbs installed throughout the house had been a huge help, education was the key for anyone wanting to reduce the glow from their home and make it more turtle-friendly.

“Educate your family and especially educate visitors, because they don’t know.

“It’s important to make people aware during turtle season and to minimalize our glow in this area.”

As part of that ongoing education and awareness, the Reducing Urban Glow project has developed a number of initiatives.

Urban glow sensor network established

One is the establishment of an urban glow sensor network – which consists of 75 urban glow sensors that have been deployed across the coastal fringe and Bundaberg City.

They collect data from the amount of ambient light in the night sky using Sky Quality Meters, as well as the amount of cloud cover, using infrared sensors. As cloud cover has the effect of magnifying artificial light coming from our urban areas, these sensors provide important information on the amount of urban glow across parts of our region, which may impact turtle nesting behaviour.

Andrew Beckenhauer of Council’s Strategic Projects and Economic Development department said that data from these sensors is being used to develop an urban glow heat map.

“The map shows the amount of light pollution produced from our urban areas,” Andrew said.

“It is designed to empower our community to make informed decisions about everyone’s use of light and take positive action to reduce urban glow.”

Maps showing the previous night’s data can be found here.

The Reducing Urban Glow project is funded by the Australian Government under Round 2 of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.

For a comprehensive list of all project collaborators visit the project partners page.

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  1. Oaks Beach is man made. I remember watching the council dozer pushing the rocks aside in the late 60’s. It only took a few days to complete. If it really is such a success for nesting turtles, why don’t we make a few more beaches?

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