Ever wondered what goes on in that big building across the railway tracks on Willcock Drive at Separation Point in Geraldton?
It’s the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI), a campus of Durack Institute of Technology; it’s a world-class facility that celebrates its 10th year of operation this year, and the public now has an opportunity to discover its many facets with regular 90-minute tours throughout February and March.
You can discover why students from across the world are so eager to enrol, and get an insight into the diversity of research and training that quietly goes on over the railway tracks, next to the ocean.
Durack Lecturer in Tourism and Guiding, Kevin McEwan, encourages the public, schools and special interest groups to enjoy an informative tour, guided by Durack’s Certificate III in Guiding and Certificate II in Tourism students.
He said visitors will learn about protecting flora and habitats at the amazing Abrolhos Islands;monitoring invasive fish and turtle species in Mid West rivers; about cutting-edge research into cracking the life cycle of difficult to breed marine ornamental fish for the aquarium market, including Nemo – or clownfish; and breeding and restocking marine finfish.
“Visitors will learn all this and more from BCMI staff that are very passionate about what they do and eager to share their knowledge,” he said.
Dr. Suresh Job, Training Director of Marine, Applied and Environmental Science at Durack added,
“People who participate in a tour will discover that BCMI is the largest marine ornamental fish breeder and supplier to the aquariumindustry all over Australia, and about conservation and land management, horticulture, laboratory science, aquaculture and maritime courses that can lead to someone graduating with nationally recognised qualifications.”
As with manyof the industry relevant courses at Durack, the tours serve a double purpose; the public gets to learn about the facility and the students get to learn how to conduct a tour.
Dr. Job continued, “The guiding and tourism students get hands-on experience in the field and guiding tours through BCMI gives them real industry experience; you can’t sell a tour if you haven’t walked it, and it’s a real confidence builder.”
Bill Swetman, Managing Director of Durack Institute of Technology, said that one of the key roles of the BCMI was to engage and educate the general public.
“People who have undertaken a tour of this facility gain an insight into the biodiversity, conservation research and projects that we undertake, and some come back to study with us, which is a great outcome.”
The tours began on Tuesday 9 February and will continue twice a day on the following dates:
Thursday, February 18; and Tuesday, February 23, from 10am-11.30am and 1pm to 2.30pm.
Tuesday, March 1; Tuesday, March 8; and Thursday, March 17, at the same times.
The tour cost is $5 per adult and a maximum group of 12 people will visit the aquaculture hatchery, marine ornamental fish production area, horticulture and conservation and land management greenhouses, aquaponics and hydroponics facilities.
Bookings can be made at the Geraldton Visitor Centre on Marine Terrace or by calling (08) 9956 6670 or call Kelly at BCMI on (08) 9956 6175.