Schools win with Reef health initiatives

Twenty schools along the Queensland coast are being recognised for their focus on protecting the Great Barrier Reef in 2017.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) last week announced the Reef Guardian Schools Ripples of Change grant winners.

Each school receives $500 funding toward their efforts to combat challenges to the marine environment. Projects include revegetating local waterways, reducing energy use, improving recycling and cleaning up beaches.

GBRMPA Chairman Russell Reichelt said the awards encourage students to learn about and care for their local environment and promote real change in their communities.

“Students are the future custodians of the Great Barrier Reef, it’s fantastic to see this level of dedication toward protecting local environments, their actions will greatly contribute to reducing threats faced by the Reef,”

“The Reef Guardian Schools program plays a significant role in empowering students, providing opportunities for them to lead the community in environmental management, I am proud to support their efforts.”

Grant winners are located in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area from Hervey Bay to Cairns.

Winners were chosen based on their project’s ability to address one of the five key threats to the Reef – climate change, declining water quality, coastal development, impacts of fishing and marine debris.

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

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

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.