Last Monday 6 of our year 5 students - Tom, Clair, Lillah, Hollie, Ethan and Lyndon participated in the Future Leaders Eco Challenge with 50 students and teachers from the six Reef Guardian Schools in the Douglas region to investigate the biodiversity found in the coastal ecosystems of the region and how these ecosystems are linked to the Great Barrier Reef.
The day-long activities were part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) annual Future Leaders Eco Challenges that raise awareness about how activities on the land can affect the marine environment. Future Leaders Eco Challenges are about students acting local but thinking global when it comes to addressing threats to the Reef. Students participated in a mangrove discovery cruise along the Dicksons Inlet with the Lady Douglas vessel where they learnt about the adaptations of mangroves and the role they play as a nursery area for animals that call the Great Barrier Reef home.
GBRMPA Far Northern Regional Liaison Officer Phil Laycock said as well as providing a nursery area for animals, mangrove ecosystems capture nutrients and sediment leaving our catchments preventing these from entering the Great Barrier Reef.
“Students also spent time combing the beach at Four Mile Beach where they searched for evidence of plants and animals to build a picture of the diversity of life found in these coastal ecosystems,” he said
Reef Biosearch marine biologists from Quicksilver Connections, Russ Hore and Bianca Weyers, joined the students later in the day for a low tide safari around the edge of the inshore reef just off Four Mile Beach.