Cairns school becomes the latest Reef Guardian recruit

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority will today welcome Our Lady Help of Christians School in Earlville to the Reef Guardian Schools program, supporting students, teachers and parents to become Reef champions.

There will be a special assembly where the Our Lady Help of Christians School will be recognised and issued with the prestigious Reef Guardian sign, heralding their commitment to love the Reef. This includes sharing ways to incorporate everyday actions to help protect our global icon that’s right on our doorsteps.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority liaison officer Phil Laycock said the school was showing great leadership in environmental action.

"The Great Barrier Reef is facing a number of threats that we all need to be aware of. The Reef Guardian Schools program promotes a culture of custodianship for Reef protection," he said.

"School communities like Our Lady Help of Christians School are stating to the general community that they’ve got the Reef’s back – that they’re actively seeking ways to be a good friend of the Reef."

The school has identified three areas to tackle: reducing energy consumption, removing litter, and promoting how to maintain healthy waterways – all of which supporting global climate change initiatives like the International Year of the Reef.

Our Lady Help of Christians School principal Verity Beames was keen for students to learn from the Reef Guardian program and share that knowledge with families and the community:

"At our school we want our students to learn that we can all do something each day to help the Reef like recycling, conserving energy and being mindful of what goes into drains that flow to the local marine environment," she said.

"We’re looking forward to our role as Reef Guardians, championing for small environmental actions that really do help the Reef on our doorstep and reefs across the world."

The International Year of the Reef is an International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) campaign. The Marine Park Authority will co-chair the ICRI secretariat with Monaco in the 2018–10 term, which includes International Year of the Reef activities.

The Reef Guardian schools program began in 2003 and sees students and teachers, their communities and local environmental agencies make positive environmental changes for the marine environment.

Find out how to get involved here: