Future leaders protect inshore biodiversity in Bowen

Published: 13/08/2012

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

More than 80 students from five schools will take part in hands-on activities during the day-long Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's 2012 Future Leaders Eco Challenge.

GBRMPA Reef Guardian Schools Acting Program Manager, Carolyn Luder, said students will learn how the 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."

Townsville Local Marine Advisory Committee Chair and Sea Turtle Foundation Project Manager, Julie Traweek, said the event was a great opportunity for students and teachers.

“Bowen is an important nesting and feeding area for turtles. The event will show students we can all look after the Great Barrier Reef, whether it be going plastic free, protecting biodiversity of species and habitats, or fishing in a more sustainable way,” Ms Traweek said.

The event will be jointly hosted with the Queens Beach Surf Life Saving Club, with support from the Sea Turtle Foundation, Paluma Environmental Education Centre and Whitsunday Regional Council.

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

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846