Future leaders protect inshore biodiversity in Brisbane

Published: 21/08/2012

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

More than 25 student leaders from six 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 and a live video link to a diver in a tank at Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville.

GBRMPA Reef Guardian Schools Acting Program Manager, Carolyn Luder, said students would 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."

Redland City Council Mayor Karen Williams said the Future Leaders Eco Challenge was a great opportunity for students and teachers.

"I am pleased to be part of this event working with the student leaders of tomorrow. Moreton Bay is an important habitat for sea turtles and dugongs which are found in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area," Cr Williams said.

"The event helps students to understand that even though they live some distance from the Great Barrier Reef, they have a role to play in protecting the animals and habitats found there.".

The event will be jointly hosted with Cleveland District State High School with support from Moreton Bay and Nudgee Beach Environmental Education Centres, Brisbane and Redland City Councils and Ocean Life Education.

Other partners include Green Cross Australia, Diving on the Gold Coast, Healthy Waterways, Reef Check Australia, Australian Marine Environment Protection Association, Sea World, Queensland Museum and Sciencentre, and the Global Learning Centre.

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

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846