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Reef Guardian Schools work together for the Reef

Douglas region students will gather today to learn how their actions and those of their community can make a difference to the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

Forty students from five schools will be taking part in the annual Future Leaders Eco Challenge as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Guardian Schools program.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Far North Liaison Officer Phil Laycock said the annual eco challenge event encouraged students to implement projects and activities showcasing citizen science and stewardship in Reef catchment communities.

“Students will take part in activities that challenge them to consider their role in mitigating the threats to the Reef, and participate in workshops delivered by environmental experts,” he said.

“The eco challenge aims to guide everyday actions and will go a long way toward a resilient Great Barrier Reef for future generations.”

Students from the Douglas region will tackle the issue of plastic bag use and explore Four Mile Beach, accompanied by marine biologists from local Reef tourism operators, to learn about local biodiversity.

Students will also brainstorm ways tourism operators could help coral recover from bleaching, and design and build a model based on their idea.

The theme of this year’s eco challenges is to address the five key threats to the Reef — climate change, water quality, coastal development, direct use and marine debris.

Students and teachers will take home activities, skills and project ideas they can implement in their own schools. These community stewardship activities contribute to the Reef 2050 Plan, the Australian and Queensland governments’ 35-year plan for protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

Now in its 15th year, the Marine Park Authority’s Reef Guardian Schools program includes more than 300 schools and over 127,000 students from Torres Strait to Brisbane taking part in Reef education and environmental stewardship in their local area.

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