Ava Grove and Enya Ovari from Cannonvale State School.
Ava Grove and Enya Ovari from Cannonvale State School. Claudia Alp

Students across Whitsundays take up Eco Challenge

STUDENTS representing five Whitsunday schools came together for the Future Leaders Eco Challenge in Cannonvale and Proserpine last Friday.

More than 50 children from Cannonvale State School, Hamilton Island State School, Whitsunday Christian College, St Catherine's Catholic College and Proserpine State School were hosted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) for an educational excursion.

The day began at 8.45am with a rubbish audit and beach clean-up on Cannonvale foreshore.

This was followed by a trip to Whitsunday Landcare Nursery in Proserpine to learn about the propagation of native plants, and then back to the Cannonvale Botanical Parklands for tree planting and a session on coastal biodiversity.

Engagement officer Katie Finch said the event encouraged students to get involved with local projects that were happening.

"The Reef is facing some threats and these activities that the students are undertaking are activities where they can take home and use back at the school, which help create resilience for the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Finch said.

"They're learning about why to plant native plants on creek banks and how they help control sediment run-off and help with erosion, because that water quality that ends up back in the Reef actually does harm.”

The Reef Guardian program has run annually since 2003 and every school in the Whitsunday region participates in it.

Ms Finch said the hands-on experience from the Reef Guardian program tied into day-to-day things that the children can do to make a difference to the environment.

"We're linking it back so that they can understand how this is helping build resilience and how it's helping the Reef,” she said.

"The kids are so savvy with all of this. The schools should be really proud of what they've done today.”

GBRMPA thanked the local partners Whitsunday Regional Council, Whitsunday Landcare and Catchment Group, Eco Barge Clean Seas and Reef Catchments who assisted to facilitate the activities for the Reef Guardian program.


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