Students challenged to protect their patch of the Great Barrier Reef

Over 400 students across Queensland will gather throughout March and April for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Guardian School Future Leaders Eco Challenges, which kicked off today in the Whitsundays.

Held annually since 2013, the Future Leaders Eco Challenge is a series of hands-on workshops in regional locations along the Great Barrier Reef catchment area.

The workshops are designed to empower Reef Guardian students and teachers to take action for the Reef by sharing knowledge, skills and key projects.

The Authority’s Assistant Director of Stewardship Megan Connell said the Future Leaders Eco Challenge was a key opportunity to foster on-ground action and promote a community culture of custodianship for the Reef.

“Throughout the Future Leaders Eco Challenge, students learn that their actions on land have a major impact on the Great Barrier Reef — just because the Reef may be out of sight, it can’t be out of mind,” Mrs Connell said.

The Great Barrier Reef catchment area lies adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and comprises approximately twenty five per cent of the land area of Queensland.

“This year’s theme, Protect your Patch, encourages students to develop a sense of ownership and responsibly to protect the Reef in their area and acknowledge that small local changes can have a big impact on the long-term protection of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mrs Connell said.

“Across the state, students will learn about marine debris and other major threats to the Reef, as well as tackling local issues.

“This connects their community to the bigger picture and encourages them to get involved in local citizen science activities to assist reef recovery.

“The students and teachers can take home activities, skills and project ideas to implement in their own schools and work together to improve the health of the Reef.”

Now in its seventeenth year, the Authority’s Reef Guardian Schools program includes more than 270 schools and over 114,000 Queensland students within the Great Barrier Reef catchment, who are committed to reducing their impacts on the Reef.

Reef Guardians are a community of schools, councils, fishers, partner organisations and community members across Queensland who go above and beyond to deliver projects to minimise threats to the Reef and educate others about what they can do to support a healthy and resilient Reef.

Contact:

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Media team: (07) 4750 0846 or media@gbrmpa.gov.au