Celebrate the Reef

For 40 years the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has been working with the community, other government agencies and industry to ensure the long-term protection of one of the world’s most diverse and remarkable ecosystems.

To celebrate this achievement, a fun community event was held in Townsville on Saturday 17 October. More than 2000 Townsville residents attended the ‘Celebrate the Reef’ event at Jezzine Barracks. The day was a mixture of science, education and fun and marked 40 years of managing the big, beautiful and diverse Great Barrier Reef.

The day started with more than 50 volunteers taking part in the Great Barrier Reef Clean-up at Rowes Bay, Townsville.This initiative is delivered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority through Reef Trust with support from the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, Tangaroa Blue Foundation, EcoBarge and local Reef Guardian Councils.

Then two turtles were released back to the sea after making full recoveries at Reef HQ Aquarium's Turtle Hospital.

There was a selection of free entertainment throughout the day including:   

  •    an outside broadcast by Zinc Radio
  •    music from the Thuringowa Brass Band and Fools Gold
  •     talks from Phillip Strachan about ReefBlitz 2015 and Ally Espig (aged 12) about her passion for the Reef
  •     demonstrations of indigenous weaving by the Deadly Aunties

Plus there were stalls, activities and displays from Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority teams and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park partners including:   

  •     Marine debris sculpture making, information and collection
  •     Face painting
  •     NQ Dry Tropics
  •     Yongala Dive and Adrenalin Dive
  •     Australian Maritime Safety Authority
  •     Coast Guard
  •     AIMS
  •     Townsville City Council
  •     Reef Check
  •     North Qld Conservation Council
  •     Seagrass Watch
  •     Conservation Volunteers Australia/Wetland Care Australia
  •     Australian Marine Conservation Society/Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping
  •     JCU
  •     Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service

And not forgetting the volunteers at the Lions Club and St John Health Services.

Over 1000 volunteers took part in ReefBlitz 2015 the same weekend. ReefBlitz is an initiative of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and is now in its second year.There were more than 20 different survey tours on offer, each led by a local expert, from snorkeling off Magnetic Island and exploring mangroves, to seeking out molluscs, birds, amphibians and even reptiles.