Eco Barge ed­u­cates about our en­vi­ron­ment

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

“ED­U­CA­TION is the most pow­er­ful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Th­ese words by Nel­son Man­dela, res­onate strongly with Libby Edge and her or­gan­i­sa­tion Eco Barge Clean Seas, es­tab­lished to en­gage the com­mu­nity of Air­lie Beach to pro­tect the marine life and aquatic en­vi­ron­ment of the Whit­sun­day is­lands and coast.

In fact, Ms Edge be­lieves ed­u­cat­ing our chil­dren about look­ing af­ter this pre­cious re­source is of the up­most im­por­tance if fu­ture gen­er­a­tions are to be­come in­volved in pre­serv­ing the beauty and con­ser­va­tion value of the Great Bar­rier Reef. It was this that led her to cre­ate the Eco Am­bas­sador Pro­gram, an ini­tia­tive de­signed to teach se­lected stu­dents how to pro­tect the Whit­sun­day is­lands from the threats of marine de­bris.

The idea be­hind the pro­gram is for the am­bas­sadors to go back to their peers and pro­mote the mission and en­vi­ron­men­tal mes­sage of Eco Barge within their schools.

On Satur­day the very first am­bas­sadors went out on the Eco Barge on a trip to Grim­ston Point, a lo­cal ‘hot spot’ for marine de­bris.

On board for the trip were Ben Ivers and Lily Arena from Can­non­vale State School, Chloe Sul­li­van and Faith Sylvester from the Proser­pine State High School and Grace Rule, Molly O’Con­nor, Quinn McKen­zie and Katya Bandow from St Catherine’s Catholic Col­lege.

Com­ing back into Port of Air­lie at the end of the trip, 14year-old Katya Bandow said she had learned how im­por­tant it was to col­lect the marine de­bris “be­cause it can kill wildlife”. “I love living here and I want to keep it beau­ti­ful for gen­er­a­tions to come,” she said.

Katya said bot­tles, thongs and pieces of plas­tic were the most com­mon pieces of rub­bish the crew came across.

The am­bas­sadors then con­tin­ued their train­ing at Eco HQ that af­ter­noon, where they learned about all of the Eco Barge pro­grams and how to care for marine tur­tles at the Whit­sun­day Tur­tle Res­cue Cen­tre.

Ms Edge said she was ex­tremely ex­cited to fi­nally launch the Eco Am­bas­sador pro­gram and she looked for­ward to work­ing with the stu­dents and schools through­out the year to de­liver all the ob­jec­tives of this ex­cit­ing project.

KEEP­ING CLEAN: Chloe Sul­li­van, 14, Faith Sylvester, 14, Quinn McKen­zie, 13, Katya Bandow, 14, Grace Rule, 10, Lily Arena, 11, Molly O'Con­nor, 11, and Ben Ivers, 11, did their bit on Satur­day, clean­ing the seas with Eco Barge.

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