Stu­dents in bid to help pro­tect reef

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

THIRTY lo­cal pri­mary school stu­dents swapped the class­room for Dick­son In­let and Four Mile Beach this week to learn how clean wa­ter is es­sen­tial to pro­tect the reef.

Of­fi­cially, the stu­dents were tak­ing part in the Great Bar­rier Reef Ma­rine Park Author­ity’s Sus­tain­ing Bio­di­ver­sity Fu­ture Lead­ers Eco Chal­lenge to cel­e­brate the In­ter­na­tional Year of Bio­di­ver­sity and the Ed­u­ca­tion Queens­land Year of Sus­tain­abil­ity.

For the stu­dents, it was all about spot­ting crocodiles off the Lady Dou­glas, plant­ing trees and go­ing for a low-tide beach walk.

“We saw three crocs,” said Nic Cooper.

“We also tested the wa­ter in lots of dif­fer­ent spots, check­ing the tem­per­a­ture, pH and vis­i­bil­ity, things like that.

“Vis­i­bil­ity was worse in the ma­rina than in the in­let.”

Fol­low­ing the river trip, the stu­dents spent an hour at Four Mile Beach park, plant­ing bush cab­bage and other na­tive species suit­able for the area.

“It’ll stop peo­ple tak­ing short­cuts to the beach, and help pre­vent ero­sion,” Jack Glover said.

The Reef Guardian Schools pro­gram is an ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tive of the Great Bar­rier Reef Ma­rine Park Author­ity that de­vel­ops part­ner­ships be­tween schools and their com­mu­ni­ties to work to­wards a sus­tain­able fu­ture for the Great Bar­rier Reef.

Ap­prox­i­mately 60,000 stu­dents across Queens­land work on var­i­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal and sus­tain­abil­ity projects through­out the year both within their class­rooms and play­grounds and in their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

“The key ob­jec­tive of the Reef Guardian Schools pro­gram is to cre­ate aware­ness, un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the Reef and con­nected ecosys­tems,” Reef Guardian schools pro­gram man­ager Megan Sper­ring said.

“It is de­signed to em­power stu­dents and give them a sense of in­volve­ment in the big­ger pic­ture and the be­lief that they re­ally can make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence.”

Photo by RICHARD KOSER

Res­cue the reef: St Au­gus­tine’s stu­dents Jack Glover and Nic Cooper help teacher An­gela Ral­dini plant a tree at Four Mile Beach

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