Future leaders protect inshore biodiversity on the Cassowary Coast

Published: 28/08/2012

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

Sixty student leaders from 12 schools are taking part in the day-long Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's 2012 Future Leaders Eco Challenge, which includes hands-on activities at Kurrimine Beach.

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."

Cassowary Coast Councillor, Mark Nolan, said the Future Leaders Eco Challenge was a great opportunity for students and teachers.

"The event shows students we can all look after the Great Barrier Reef, by protecting coastal vegetation, cleaning up plastic rubbish along our coastlines or further supporting our councils and our farmers in their efforts to improve water quality," he said.

The event is supported by Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Tangaroa Blue Ocean Care Society, Cassowary Coast Local Marine Advisory Committee and Johnstone River Landcare.

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

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846