School leads Reef catchment action

Mackay’s Pioneer State High School has weeds and pests in their sights as the school looks to improve their local environment in 2017.

The school will receive a $500 Ripples of Change funding grant from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) toward their efforts to build resilience and support biodiversity of the Reef.

Teacher Dr Lisa Steenhauer said students would learn about water quality and run-off impacts.

“Students will be able to see first-hand how actions such as planting trees can make a difference, we’ll monitor the quality of water throughout the year to follow its changes,” she said.

“These activities will form part of the senior assessment.”

GBRMPA Reef Guardian Schools Program manager Megan Connell commended the school for their project.

“It’s great to see students involved in projects that will make a positive difference to the marine environment,” she said.

All schools participating in GBRMPA’s Reef Guardian Schools program were encouraged to apply for the funding grants.

Winners were chosen based on their project’s ability to address one of the five key threats to the Reef.

Actions of school projects will also contribute to the Reef 2050 Plan — the Australian and Queensland governments’ 35 year plan for protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

The grants, aimed at assisting small scale stewardship projects at a school level, encourage Reef stewardship, citizen science projects and promote local partners and stakeholder collaboration.

Now in its fifteenth year, GBRMPA’s Reef Guardian Schools initiative has more than 270 schools, 7400 teachers and 120,000 students involved in building the Reef’s resilience.

Further information about the Reef Guardian Schools program and a full list of winners is available online.