This project consisted of a scholarship program for four high school students from the south west region of Victoria who were trained and mentored in marine science activities.
This included the technical skills of basic seasmanship, the marine working environment and scientific research methods including observation, photo-identification and database management. Training and mentoring also covered the theoretical and practical aspects of the ecology of the Bonney Upwelling: the epic natural ocean occurrence that powers a seven month feeding frenzy of marine life.
The project was conducted between November 2013 and June 2014 and included an induction and training day, four days at sea and one photo ID workshop and debriefing day. Despite the fact that the project faced a number of difficulties, including the absence of blue whales, the research concluded that this was a valuable community education opportunity for the participants as well as the broader community, for example through media coverage.
The Fellowship recipient was Dr Peter Gill of Blue Whale Study Inc.