Celebrate the Reef with us

Published: 08/10/2015

The Great Barrier Reef is big, beautiful and diverse — and it’s time to celebrate it in Townsville!

A day of free ‘Celebrate the Reef’ activities for all ages on Saturday 17 October at Jezzine Barracks will mark 40 years of managing this international natural icon and also launch Townsville’s first ReefBlitz.

‘Celebrate the Reef’ will bring together science, education and fun, including family activities and displays from 9am to 3pm.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said the festivities would also incorporate the first of a series of Great Barrier Reef clean-ups from 8am, as well as Townsville’s inaugural ReefBlitz from 6am to 6pm.

“For 40 years, we’ve been working with the community, Traditional Owners, other government agencies and industry to protect this natural wonder,” Dr Reichelt said.

“As Queenslanders, we’re lucky enough to have this remarkable place of beauty and extraordinary biodiversity in our backyard. This is a chance to celebrate the way it enriches our lives, and that of the many millions of people who visit it.

“It’s also an opportunity to share ways — big and small — on how we can all help protect this precious place now and into the future.”

The family event will feature music and children’s entertainment, displays, talks and food vendors, as well as a release of two turtles currently recuperating at Reef HQ Aquarium’s turtle hospital.

Locals and visitors will also have the opportunity to become Reef citizen scientists for the day by joining the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s ReefBlitz — a 12-hour challenge to find and record as many of Townsville’s wild species as possible.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Claire Hanratty said last year 191 different species were identified during the Airlie Beach ReefBlitz, and she hoped Townsville would rise to the challenge and break the 200 species mark in 2015.

“More than 20 different free survey tours and presentations will be on offer, giving plenty of opportunities for Townsville to break last year’s record and contribute to Reef science,” Ms Hanratty said.

“From snorkelling off Magnetic Island and exploring mangroves, to seeking out molluscs, birds, amphibians and even reptiles, everyone can get involved and help make a difference for the Reef.

“The information collected during ReefBlitz will be uploaded to the iNaturalist and Eye on the Reef apps to enable scientists and reef managers to better understand the biodiversity that exists in the local area.”

ReefBlitz 2015 is an initiative of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, with support from major partners: the Queensland Government, Boeing and Qantas, and event partner the Earthwatch Institute.

Details on the Celebrate the Reef event can be found at www.gbrmpa.gov.au.

Details about ReefBlitz are available at www.barrierreef.org/reefblitz.

Name: GBRMPA media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846