An inspiring example of cooperation between elements of conservation, education and corporate worlds was exhibited at the Kangaroo Island Marine Interpretive / Science Centre Forum in the world class Aurora Ozone Conference Facility on the weekend of the 5th and 6th of March. A joint initiative between owners, partners and managers of the Aurora Ozone Hotel, the Aurora Group and Kangaroo Island Dolphin Watch resulted in a number of interested parties and stakeholders coming together to develop a concept plan for a Marine Science Institute to be established on Kangaroo Island. Focus speakers from a broad spectrum of interests and institutions presented a series of perspectives to inform workshop groups and help define the nature of the multi purpose facility under discussion. The underlying principles that such a development should bring economic benefit to Kangaroo Island, value adding to the existing business community while enhancing the protection and conservation of the islandâ€™s unique marine environment, were clearly evident in discussions and the ensuing preferred model for development.
Following intensive workshops the model described by Associate Professor Sean Connell from Adelaide University based on the Heron Island facility in Queensland, was seen as a â€œbest fitâ€ with a high yield accommodation facility for research students being used to support a high quality but low yield research centre, created with an intent of scientific excellence. Kangaroo Islandâ€™s relatively pristine waters are recognised globally as offering unparalleled research opportunities.