Students investigate Magnetic Island as Guardians of the Reef

Bugs, fish and corals were just some of the creatures studied by local school students on Magnetic Island on Wednesday as part of learning how protecting ecosystems can play an important role in the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

Primary school students from across Townsville and the island visited an inshore reef in Geoffrey Bay to take part in a range of activities as part of the annual Future Leaders Eco Challenge.

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

Reef Guardians Project Manager Megan Connell said Magnetic Island showcased a unique habitat.

“The students went to Geoffrey Bay at low-tide to see the Reef and found some interesting marine plants and animals,” Mrs Connell said.

“Another activity involved students investigating creek systems on the island, and finding out if they are healthy by studying the macroinvertebrates (small bugs) found.

“We assisted students to identify things we can all do to help protect the Reef, with the students completing the day as Reef superheroes, enlisted to encourage their fellow students to adopt Reef friendly behaviours.”

Oonoonba State School teacher Sheryl Firth said the event provided a hands on learning experience for students to see the Reef for themselves.

“They learnt about sustainable practices, which they can now take back and implement at our school,” Mrs Firth said.

Students said they really enjoyed surveying the Gustav Creek at Magnetic Island to learn about keeping waterways healthy.

More than 60 students, in years four to six, from 12 primary schools took part in the Townsville Future Leaders Eco Challenge event, including: Belgian Gardens State School, Cranbrook State School, Kelso State School, Magnetic Island State School, Mundingburra State School, Oonoonba State School, Rollingstone State School, St Clare’s Catholic School, St Joseph’s Catholic School at The Strand, The Cathedral School, Townsville Community Learning Centre and Weir State School.

Photo: Students from Crankbrook State School being Reef superhereos at Geoffrey Bay