Operation Crayweed with Balgowlah North Public School


Operation Crayweed with Balgowlah North Public School

An animated film by Turpin Crawford Studio in collaboration Lightwell

A creative collaboration between artists, scientists and primary school children

Artists Jennifer Turpin and Michaelie Crawford from Turpin Crawford Studio with curator Christiane Statham, filmmakers Indigo Hanlee and Mel Touw from Lightwell Studio, and musician Ben Fink, worked with Year 4 students from Balgowlah North Public School to make an animated film about ‘Operation Crayweed’.

‘Operation Crayweed’ is an environmental rehabilitation project that is restoring underwater forests of crayweed along Sydney’s coastline from Cronulla to Palm Beach. The project is led by marine scientists from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) and The University of NSW, Sydney and The University of Sydney. Crayweed, an important species of seaweed, was lost from the Sydney coastline in the 1980s and scientists are now replanting it where it once flourished, and re-establishing this essential habitat and food source for Sydney’s coastal marine biodiversity.

The latest 2019 planting site is in Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve in Manly.

The students first learnt about Operation Crayweed from marine scientists from SIMS. They went on an excursion to the coast to learn first-hand about the importance of sustaining a healthy marine eco-system of sea fauna and flora. The students then went to the SIMS marine laboratory to see sea-creatures under the microscope and learn more about the seaweed currently being restored to Sydney’s coastal waters by ‘’Operation Crayweed’.

The Balgowlah North students then explored that scientific knowledge through the creative process of drawing, song-writing, singing, and dancing to make the animated film with the artists, musician and filmmakers. They created drawings for the film’s animation sequences in a series of art workshops; wrote the words for the film’s Crayweed song - and recorded it at a local sound recording studio; were interviewed about their understanding of the project; and danced in sea creature costumes for the film’s song and dance sequence.

This film is the latest in a series of art/science collaborations between Turpin + Crawford Studio and SIMS/UNSW. With this project, Turpin Crawford Studio aimed to develop a project that can be disseminated widely to engage young people in the protection of their marine environment.

This project was supported by the John T Reid Foundation. The film was launched by Zali Steggall OAM, Independent member for Warringah, on Sunday 24th November 2019 at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum.

Balgowlah North and Manly

Lightwell, Sydney Institute of Marine Science, UNSW, Sydney, and the University of Sydney