In 2017, 20 schools along the Queensland coast received $500 from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority towards their efforts to combat threats to the marine environment. The schools were selected for their focus on protecting the Reef and, under the Reef Guardian Schools Ripples of Change grants, each school received funding to kick-start a new project or expand an existing Reef Guardian Project that instills stewardship in their communities, and protects the Reef for future generations.
We now have a new Reef Guardians Grants Program which replaces the existing activities run by the Authority including the Ripples of Change Grants, the Local Marine Advisory Committee Project Funds and the Science for Management Awards.
Project highlights from 2017
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Kin Kora State School
Students from Kin Kora State School showed how they're thinking about their environmental impact every day. They visited local creeks and worked with conservation volunteers and Harbour Watch to undertake surveys and data analysis of their waste. They also installed paper recycling boxes in each classroom and purchased a skip bin to collect everyone’s cardboard.
Energy efficient classrooms
Kelso State School
These students made a conservation classroom to demonstrate how to conserve energy. They conducted energy audits around the school and looked for energy-efficient products like light bulbs and power point timers for air conditioners. Each week the class that best managed their energy received an award. The Kelso students are now hoping their school can start using solar power.
Sustainable resource management
Gympie State High School
Agricultural students from Gympie worked with the local Landcare to restore native vegetation in the Moody Creek catchment. Through their hands-on activities students learned about the connection between agricultural land and the health of the surrounding ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef. Students planted native species and removed weeds to improve water filtration and reduce erosion. This environmental management project gave students a taste of field work and theory.
River bank erosion reduction
Mirani State High School
To protect the nearby river bank from erosion Mirani State High School students built a bund behind their school to stop the flow of storm water to the river. The local council and Landcare offered hands-on help and their knowledge of soil erosion management. Students also learned about identifying weeds, and planted native tube stock to help stabilise the river bank and prevent rubbish washing into the river.
'This drains to the Reef'
Good Counsel College
Students from the Good Counsel College took part in activities encouraging the community to think about their environmental impact on the Reef. They held bake sales to raise money for the Mandaburra Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and participated in “Plastic Free July” on their quest to becoming a no single-use plastic school. For their main project students created a large stencil with the message: “This drains to the Great Barrier Reef”, then worked with the local council to paint their stencil on drains around their community.