Hinchinbrook students get involved in local actions to protect the Reef

Published: 05/09/2014

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About 50 students and teachers from six Reef Guardian Schools in the Hinchinbrook region swapped the classroom for the outdoors to learn about how local environmental actions can protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The day-long activities were part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) annual Future Leaders Eco Challenges that raise awareness about how activities on the land can affect the marine environment.

Future Leaders Eco Challenges are about students acting local but thinking global when it comes to addressing threats to the Reef.

GBRMPA Acting Reef Guardian School Program Manager Carolyn Luder said during the day students participated in hands-on activities to learn about water quality, fish tagging, the Australian Marine Debris Initiative and the biodiversity of the Cardwell region.

“Reef Guardian students from five schools took buses from Ingham to Cardwell where the event was hosted by Cardwell State School,” she said.

“Cardwell is a unique meeting point between the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas.”

Students explored the journey of the water cycle and how high levels of nitrogen in some fertilisers that make it into our waterways and the ocean can lead to increased algae growth that feed crown-of-thorn starfish larvae.

Students were excited to learn about fish tagging as a method to provide information to fishers and researchers to contribute to greater knowledge about key recreational fish species.

"They also participated in a clean-up and over a 20 minute period, collected 63 kilograms of rubbish from the beach," Miss Luder said.

"Students collected data on the type of marine debris found on the beach using the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, a large network with people working together to solve the issue of marine debris.”

Visiting Ingham students were treated with a special workshop by Cardwell State School Junior Rangers and Girringun Junior Rangers where they learnt about the islands off Cardwell, the biodiversity of the region and got to plant herbs and vegetables to take home with them.

The event was officially opened by Uncle Claude Beeron, Traditional Owner Elder for Girramay People and supported by the Girringun Aboriginal Rangers, Tangaroa Blue, Terrain NRM, Herbert Cane Productivity Services Limited and Hinchinbrook Shire Council, a Reef Guardian Council.

GBRMPA’s Reef Guardian Schools program includes 308 schools and over 126,000 students from Torres Strait to Brisbane taking part in Reef education and environmental activities in their local area.

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846