Students float new ways to protect the Reef

Local school students have come up with innovative ideas to protect the Great Barrier Reef, including a floating platform to redirect cooler water from deeper areas of the Reef to corals suffering thermal stress and bleaching.

This was just one of the activities students from 10 schools across Far North Queensland took part in during the Cassowary Coast Future Leaders Eco Challenge at Kurramine Beach last week.

Future Leaders Eco Challenge events are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Guardian program.

Students from McDonnell Creek State School said they enjoyed building an invention to help prevent coral bleaching.

“We made a tiny model of a floating structure that would cool down the Reef to stop it bleaching,” year 5 student Shamus said.

Year 6 student Molly agreed, “It was fun to present our Reef cooler system to the other schools and talk about what we thought was important to the Great Barrier Reef.”

Reef Guardian Liaison Officer Phil Laycock said the students also put a lot of thought into powering their inventions with renewable energy devices.

“Some other students invented a concept to use renewable energy to power pumps to make water vapour that would then be blasted by warm air and turned into clouds to shade the Reef,” Mr Laycock said.

“Students were given the opportunity to learn about different management tools, such as zoning, that support the Reef’s resilience.

“The students also took part in a journey of discovery with a marine biologist around the intertidal zone of Kurramine Beach, to help them discover the biological wonders of these areas of the Marine Park.”

Seventy students from 10 primary schools took part in the Cassowary Coast Future Leaders Eco Challenge event, including: Feluga State School, Innisfail East State School, McDonnell Creek State School, Mission Beach State School, Mourilyan State School, Mundoo State School, Murray River Upper Sate School, South Johnstone State School, St Clare’s Catholic School and Tully State School.