Bowen students are reef champions

Bowen’s future environmental leaders will participate in a day of educational activities at Cannonvale foreshore tomorrow to help protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The activities are part of the annual Future Leaders Eco Challenge, which is run as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) Reef Guardian Schools program.

The theme for this year’s event is community stewardship in action. Students will be picking up marine debris, making recyclable bags, doing mangrove activities, a biodiversity walk and inspecting Galbraith Creek.

GBRMPA liaison officer Kate Finch said the event aimed to encourage students to learn about and care for their local environment, in turn contributing to the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

“The Bowen region has a strong connection to the neighbouring Great Barrier Reef and the local teachers and students have an important role to play in its future,” Ms Finch said.

“The event aims to empower them, give them a sense of involvement in the bigger environmental picture, and encourage them to make a positive difference.

“Environmental projects in Reef Guardian schools contribute to broader actions that are helping protect the Reef — all actions, big or small, are vital to the Reef.”

Schools in the Bowen region participating in the challenge include Bowen State School, Bowen State High School, Merinda State School, Queens Beach State School and St Mary’s School.

The Whitsunday Local Marine Advisory Committee, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Eco Barge, Whitsunday Catchment Landcare and Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping .

Future Leaders Eco Challenges will take place in Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Port Douglas, Innisfail, the Whitsundays, Burdekin, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Capricorn Coast, Mackay, Ingham and Bowen.

GBRMPA’s Reef Guardian Schools program includes 276 schools, over 120,000 students and 7400 teachers from Brisbane to the Torres Strait.

For more information about the Reef Guardian Schools program visit www.gbrmpa.gov.au.