media + partnerships
Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre + BBC Blue Planet
In March 2019, I liaised and hosted a film crew from BBC Blue Planet presented by Liz Bonnin to film a live turtle release from Sunlover Reef Cruises' Moore Reef pontoon.
The turtle 'Midori' was rehabilitated by the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (CTRC). Due to a partnership, I fostered with the CTRC and co-founder Jennie Gilbert, Sunlover's pontoon became the favoured location to release rehabilitated turtles and together we filmed and hosted other turtles releases with the likes of Dr Harry for Better Homes & Gardens.
I liaised with Jennie and the BBC prior, which was particularly crucial for the BBC as they could not visit the location and needed to be assured that the facilities, experience, and visuals would be of the highest standard. I also recruited Sunlover's Marine Biologist and Master Reef Guide Pablo Cogollos and Stuart Ireland from Calypso Reef Imagery who did the underwater filming for the BBC.
Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef (a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to protecting the reef) were also on board that day to launch Reef Tracks. Reef Tracks brings together data from tagged marine life and maps it on the Great Barrier Reef for people around the world to explore and track its movements.
As well as managing the logistics of the turtle release, BBC, and Citizens, I was required to make operational arrangements with the Sunlover crew as the boat was also being run as 'business as usual' that day with over 250 passengers on board, who had to be kept from the turtle and remain silent for the release and filming! I had to also ensure that no photos were taken as there was an embargo until March 2019.
Despite initial some trepidation from the BBC about filming and doing a turtle release onboard a mass marketing vessel, the release went very smoothly and the BBC filmed an incredible story and provided invaluable exposure to a critical audience. Citizens were also able to launch Reef Tracker successfully and it was nominated for the 'Oscars of the Internet' The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS).
“I wanted to say a really huge heartfelt thank you for everything you did. It was a huge success and you pulled out all the stops. I really hope you see the show, and you'll be proud to be part of it all. I am sure it will do so much for raising the awareness and care for the GBR with the millions and millions of people who watch the series. I hope we get to meet again in the future.” BBC Producer
"I dealt with Sarah when she was in upper management at Sunlover Reef Cruises.
Sarah in this capacity was extremely efficient in organising media and on-board crews, boat times and WHS.
Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre released many turtles with film crews such as BBC Blue Planet, Griff Rhys Jones, Better Homes & Gardens and many more. These days went without any problems due to Sarah’s professionalism; the film crews were all extremely impressed that they did not encounter any problems.
Sarah has always been supportive of Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre with driving fundraising events to help the turtles.
On a personal level I have found Sarah to be an intelligent person who is always willing to go that extra mile in situations when required. Her judgement has always been important on many occasions when needed.
I would recommend Sarah as an honest, hardworking, extraordinary person that any business would gain from." Jennie Gilbert