Primary school students keep Australia and the Reef beautiful

Townsville primary school students are getting together to learn how reducing litter and waste can make a difference to the Great Barrier Reef and help keep Australia beautiful.

Coinciding with Keep Australia Beautiful Week, the annual Future Leaders Eco Challenge is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Guardian Schools program.

This year’s event is taking place at Townsville’s Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium — the national education centre for the Great Barrier Reef — and involves more than 100 students.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Reef Guardian Schools project officer Bonnie Boyce said students would learn about the impact of marine debris and how to minimise it in their communities.

“Students will rotate through workshops on marine debris, sorting and reducing litter in their schools, turtle conservation and biology, and how to get their communities involved in helping the Reef,” she said.

“The event aims to raise awareness about everyday actions that can be put in place to help ensure a resilient Great Barrier Reef for future generations.”

Students and teachers will take home activities, skills and project ideas they can implement in their own schools.

These community stewardship activities contribute to the Reef 2050 Plan, the Australian and Queensland governments’ 35-year plan for protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

This is the first year Reef Guardian Schools have taken part in an eco challenge for Keep Australia Beautiful Week.

Now in its 15th year, the Marine Park Authority’s Reef Guardian Schools program includes 300 schools and over 127,000 students from Torres Strait to Brisbane taking part in Reef education and environmental stewardship in their local area.