Mackay students band together for health of the Reef

Published: 23/08/2013

Students from Reef Guardian Schools in the Mackay region are working together to help ensure the health of the iconic Great Barrier Reef.

Six Reef Guardian schools are taking part in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's 2013 Future Leaders Eco Challenge (FLEC) with students participating in environmental activities to learn 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 global but act local 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 gather at Sarina State High School's agricultural farm to participate in a range of activities including tree planting, animal adaptations, aquaponics and biodiversity lessons in a permaculture garden.

Amanda Hurst, Leading Hand for the Habitat Restoration Team, Natural Environment Department at Mackay Regional Council said the Challenge was an excellent opportunity for Mackay Regional Council (who became a Reef Guardian Council in 2009) to assist with activities that link into Reef Guardian School’s program.  

“Council plays an active role in raising awareness and encouraging best environmental practice in local government activities. Our local government aims to improve the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef through continual improvement of water management, waste management, land management, climate change, community education and partnerships.

“This year’s FLEC theme is most appropriate given the pressures the Reef is facing.  Our schools are training the future guardians of the Great Barrier Reef and the FLEC is an important part of the training process giving the student’s knowledge and hands-on experience for their reef guardian’s role,” said Ms Hurst.

Supporting this program are local partners Sarina Catchment and Landcare Group, Reef Guardians Mackay Regional Council, Sarina State High School, Property Manager for Sarina High’s Agricultural Department, Mackay Community Gardens and Bunnings Mackay.

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

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846