The Mackay & District Turtle Watch Association (M&D T.W.A.) was officially formed in 1992 from a group of 30 interested members of the community.
The reason the group formed grew from the fact that while it was known that turtle nesting activity took place on various Mackay & District beaches, there was no official information available on the activity.
Since the formation of the Association, monitoring and collecting data on nesting and hatchling marine turtles in the Mackay District has enabled a database of information to be assembled over the years.
The Association and volunteer members are trained and operate under a permit issued by the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency. All data and information collected is shared with the Queensland Turtle Research Program under the direction of DR Col Limpus.
The MDTWA also recognised early the benefit of public education and compliments the data collection with an extensive education program. Volunteers visit schools, community groups and provide public displays of turtle information and education.
Like all growing cities, Mackay has issues with beachfront development and tourism. One of the major threats to the preservation of sea turtles is uncontrolled beachfront development with associated degradation of vegetation, sand dunes and incorporating beach lighting pollution.
The Association is active in lobbying local government and developers for recognition, preservation and best management practices affecting the beach dunes and turtle nesting habitat in the area.
Mackay is fortunate enough to have turtle nesting and hatching occurring on the doorstep of this growing city. The MDTWA aims to try and preserve this natural wonder for the future through promotion, education and monitoring.
Ken and Fay Griffin