BHP Billiton employees get involved
Monday 23 November 2009:
Usually desk-bound, Sjaak Lemmens has been getting a lot of hands-on experience this past week.
An environmental advisor from Perth, Sjaak joined the Heron Island expedition as part of the BHP Billiton Employee Engagement Program, which sends two employees on each of the CReefs expeditions to show them first-hand the kind of scientific work that goes on.
An experienced diver and former marine biologist with 30 years experience, Sjaak spent a lot of time in the water during his stay.
He assisted with the retrieval of the Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures and helped some of the biologists collect samples.
Sjaak said he put his hand up to join the trip because he wanted the opportunity to get involved.
"This was very much the kind of work I used to do," he said.
Sjaak left this afternoon after seven days on the island, and was replaced by, Mark Hammond, another environmental advisor with BHP Billiton
Mark will pick up where Sjaak left off, assisting the CReefs team where needed – and fitting in some snorkeling whenever he can.
Based in Moranbah, Queensland, Mark said he hoped to learn more about marine taxonomy as well as help out the scientists where needed.
He said the mine he worked at was within the Great Barrier Reef catchment and he hoped to gain a better understanding of how his day-to-day activities could impact the reef.
Sjaak said he was sad to leave the island and had enjoyed his time with the CReefs Australia team.
"I've been impressed by the level of dedication here. There's a great team spirit," he said.