Future leaders in Charters Towers help protect inshore biodiversity

Published: 06/09/2012

Students from Reef Guardian Schools in Charters Towers are being enlisted to protect plants, animals and habitats near the shoreline of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

More than 35 student leaders from four schools will take part in the day-long Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's 2012 Future Leaders Eco Challenge, which includes hands-on activities at Wambiana Station – a grazing property 100km south-west of Charters Towers.

GBRMPA Reef Guardian Schools Acting Program Manager, Carolyn Luder, said students will learn how inland, coastal, marine and Reef catchment areas are interconnected and reliant on one another to function.

"Inshore ecosystems cover about 10 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef and are made up of a diverse range of habitats including seagrass meadows, salt marshes, mangroves, estuaries and beaches," she said.

"Some of these habitats and species may not be part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area but they are interconnected and vital to the health of the Reef.

"These areas are under a lot of pressure from a range of impacts including coastal development and declining water quality, so it's vital students understand the need for long-term protection of these habitats."

Meat and Livestock Australia's Community Engagement Manager, Pip McConachie, said the Future Leaders Eco Challenge was a unique opportunity for students and teachers.

"It's great to see young leaders working with local partners to promote sustainable living through their school and local community,” she said.

“These events enable students to engage with people working on the ground, such as graziers, to show how we can all work together to minimise our environmental impact and help increase the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef. "

The event will be hosted with the Lyons family at the Wambiana Station, with support from Meat and Livestock Australia, the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Paluma Environmental Education Centre and the Museum of Tropical Queensland.

Reef Guardian Schools is an environmental education program run by GBRMPA.

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846