From humble beginnings on the Central Coast to the global stage, Take 3 for the Sea has captured the world with its simple environmental message of picking up rubbish from beaches and waterways. Behind the movement is Roberta Dixon-Valk, Amanda Marechal and Sarah Beard. We sat down with the changemaking trio to hear how a coastal life sparked their campaign.
What do you love most about the Coast?
“We love the bush and the ocean interface on the Central Coast – it is the best of both worlds. We love living surrounded by endless bush and beaches. And we love the diversity of the beautiful places to visit; the beaches that range from rugged and wild with great surf to calm bays.”
Take 3 for the Sea has been embraced by politicians, celebrities and environmentalists. How has the Central Coast influenced the organisation’s success?
Roberta: The Central Coast nurtured our simple idea of Take 3… (it) was the testing ground for many of the successful programs Take 3 runs today.
Sarah: The Central Coast is a melting pot of coastal lifestyle, creativity and community, and acted as the ideal base to launch a grassroots sustainability movement.
What's a typical day for the women of Take 3 for the Sea?
Roberta: There is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ for Take 3. Our days can involve anything – computers, clean-ups, classrooms. One can be cleaning up the beaches in the morning and, just for a little spice, throw in a turtle rescue with Australian Seabird Rescue; meeting with politicians and then writing a grant, or presenting to a school in the afternoon.
Amanda: …Every day is different and colourful. The one consistent factor in my life is my morning coffee and a drive past the surf. I love checking the ocean and all its moods…
What are your favourite local beaches?
Roberta: Forresters Beach is my local and I love that I can just walk down and have a snorkel in summer and watch the whales migrating in winter. I also love that a really busy day, Christmas Day, might see 30 people at the beach.
Sarah: One of my favourite Central Coast beaches is Putty Beach. It has beautiful seagrass beds to snorkel over, stunning shady rock platforms to sit on and is usually calm for ocean swimming.
Amanda: Having lived at Forresters Beach for 22 years, I would probably be bias if I said Forries but it’s gorgeous. I mainly surf North Shelly but I love exploring, everywhere from Copacabana to Soldiers Beach…
What are your go-to water-based activities?
Roberta: Body surfing and snorkelling. I am trying to learn how to surf on a board but they seem so cumbersome in comparison to the simple art of body bashing.
Sarah: My go-to water-based activities are ocean swimming, surfing and snorkelling.
Amanda: Surfing is my passion.
The Coast has matured a lot since Take 3 started 11 years ago. Where would you take a friend who hasn’t visited recently?
Roberta: One of my favourite places to take people is just up to the Forresters Beach headland, the southern end of Wyrrabalong National Park. My family call it ‘the edge of the world’ and it feels like you can see into forever there. Traditionally, we also take friends on the Lillypilly loop trail at North Entrance/Magenta or for a swim at Pelican’s Beach. I love that these areas feel so remote but are actually so close.
The Take 3 headquarters is in Long Jetty, which has also seen a big transformation in recent years. What's the local vibe like today?
Roberta: Long Jetty has changed dramatically in the 20 years I have called the Central Coast home. It has a Newtown-by-the-coast feel, which I put down to the cool vibes The Glass Onion Society established when they set up shop. I love all the upcycling and retro shops in the area like Dapper Darlings and The Sound Exchange. Above all, I love that you can get a really good cup of coffee and wander down to one of the jetties and watch the fish, the seagrass, the wading birds and the sun painting the evening sky.
Sarah: I love bringing people to Long Jetty who haven’t been there for a while. It’s a great mix of 60’s/70’s hip, awesome surf culture with Shelly Beach so close by, yoga and mindfulness at the beautiful Modern Organic, and just generally reflecting modern Australia.
Amanda: Long Jetty has a happening inner-city-meets-beach vibe. The Savoy, a converted theatre come cocktail bar, is a great spot to meet friends and the foreshore along the lakefront is a wonderful spot to watch the sunset.
What do you each love about living on the Central Coast?
Roberta: I love the bush and the ocean interface on the Central Coast – it is the best of both worlds. I love that we can drive for five minutes and be in a rural area, and the Central Coast community is still small enough to collectively care about environmental outcomes.
Sarah: What I love about the Central Coast is living surrounded by endless bush and beaches. Even after living here for 15 years there are still new places to explore and visit.
Amanda: The diversity of the beautiful places to visit… the beautiful beaches that range from rugged and wild with great surf to calm bays. There is a beach or a bay for all interests, whether surfing, snorkelling, diving or just relaxing. Watching the beautiful sailing boats on Brisbane Water and the views out towards Lion Island, and then you have the rural areas and bush out at Yarramalong, Jilliby, the creeks and streams, waterfalls at Somersby Falls, the bushland at Ourimbah and walking trails at Maitland Bay