Future leaders protect inshore biodiversity in the Whitsundays

Published: 26/07/2012

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

More than 30 students from three 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 field trips.

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."

Whitsundays Local Marine Advisory Committee member and Order of the Underwater Coral Heroes(OUCH) founder Tony Fontes applauded the Future Leaders Eco Challenge.

"We're pleased to be part of the Reef Guardian Schools program, working in conjunction with the leaders of tomorrow to promote sustainable living," he said.

"These projects help build healthier ecosystems and provide valuable learning experiences for students.

"The activities will be facilitated by local partners – the Order of the Underwater Coral Heroes,Whitsunday Local Marine Advisory Committee, Eco Barge Clean Seas, Whitsunday Catchment Landcare and Eco-crew.

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

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846