There's more to be seen around Bulli Beach than giant sharks and whale carcasses to excite the kids, according to a Wollongong marine scientist.
University lecturer and researcher Elyssa De Carli said many people swarmed Waniora Point last week, interested to see the giant sea life that appeared, without realising what treasures are already there.
Fossils from before the dinosaur age are easily visible around rock platforms at Sandon Point, Bulli and Woonona, or Port Jackson shark eggs could be picked up from the sand.
While friendly octopuses (not the blue-ring kind) might be playing with starfish and other marine life in rock pools, and not harmful if humans come close.
"Everything tells a story, everything that's there tells you something about that environment," Dr De Carli said of exploring our beaches.
"It's like being a little coastal detective."
Because the coast is a big part of the Illawarra environment, she wants to help inspire children - and adults - to become passionate about its ecology and in turn help preserve it.
"If kids really understand the value or start to love being our there and exploring these habitats, then they'll ... also want to protect them," she said.
"If you teach kids to care about the type of animals and marine life that are living out there and you connect it to ... all the rivers and creeks that bring the storm water from out roads to the sea [it helps them to] be more conscious of what they put in our waterways."
Dr De Carli is also the founder of Coal Coast Discovery Days. The two-hour workshops will run at Bulli, Woonona and Sandon Point beaches and rock pools, during low-tide across the September school holidays.
"I was down on the coast a few weekends ago and there were plenty of kids and parents about ... [but] no-one was looking in the rock pools where all the interesting and cool marine life lives," she said.
"We'll be walking along the beach and rock pools at low tide with hands-on activities to discover and explore what lives there.
"Excursions will also incorporate info on the indigenous and historical knowledge of the area, aspects of rockpool safety and more."
Participants will also learn to identify marine life, what not to touch and what is safe, how waterways work, and the history of the area.
The excursions are open to kids and adults, and will run during set times from September 26 through to October 11.
Groups of up 10 people will run twice a day, with the cost $30 per person.
For more information, visit: www.facebook.com/coalcoast.discovery
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