Future leaders band together for the health of the Great Barrier Reef

Published: 13/08/2013

Students from Reef Guardian Schools in the Rockhampton and on the Capricorn Coast are working together to help ensure the health of the iconic Great Barrier Reef.

Eight local schools are taking part in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's 2013 Future Leaders Eco Challenge with students participating in environmental activities and learning new skills to help them look after their local ecosystems.

GBRMPA Reef Guardian Schools program manager, Megan Sperring, said students will learn how to think globally but act locally when it comes to protecting the health and resilience of the environment.

“This year’s theme, ‘The Amazing Great Barrier Reef – Let’s Keep it Great’, will serve to remind students how lucky we are to have a world-heritage listed icon right on our doorstep here in Queensland.

“On-ground sustainability projects in schools and in the community can help the Reef in a positive way and with the support of local environmental partners we are demonstrating that a practical, locally-based approach can make a real difference,” Ms Sperring said.

Students will travel to North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre (NKIEEC) to participate in a range of activities including a beach excursion to identify dune vegetation species, learn about local marine park zones, island biodiversity, the functions of beach scrub and mangrove ecosystems and the important, indigenous connections to sea country. Students will also complete activities on sustainable farming and land management issues including the importance of riparian protection in reducing sediment and improving the water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef.

Principal of North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre Roger Searl said they had been operating for 13 years and throughout that time has educated thousands of students on sustainability, alternative energy, reef ecology, mangroves and ethical behaviours.

“The Centre takes great pride in supporting Future Leaders Eco-Challenge each year, as we are located in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and on an island national park as the only tenant.

“Schools whom are Reef Guardian schools often visit NKIEEC and the FLEC day is a great extension of this work. Appreciation of our natural environment and a will to see it preserved is in everyone's interest," Principal Searl said.

Supporting this program are local partners Rockhampton Regional Council, Reef Guardian farmer Peter Foxwell, Fitzroy River and Coastal Catchments, OceanWatch, North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre, and the Capricorn Coast Local Marine Advisory Committee.

Reef Guardian Schools is an environmental education program run by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846