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Students have their eye on the Reef

William Ross State High School students are hitting the water in 2017 to monitor reefs off Townsville.

The school will receive a $500 Ripples of Change funding grant from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) toward their stewardship action.

Teacher Shelley DeRuyter said the students will take part in GBRMPA’s Eye on the Reef program by monitoring reefs around Magnetic Island.

“Our students are proud Reef Guardians; participation in Eye on the Reef represents a fantastic opportunity for them to get out on the water and do something hands-on for protection and management of the Reef,” she said.

GBRMPA Eye on the Reef manager Fiona Merida welcomed the school’s involvement in the citizen science program.

“It’s a great way for students to engage with the Reef, from recording sightings to undertaking rapid monitoring surveys they will learn about relationships that exist within the Reef ecosystem,” she said.

“Data collected through Eye on the Reef helps build our knowledge of reef-wide ecosystem health and resilience.”

All schools participating in GBRMPA’s Reef Guardian Schools program were encouraged to apply for the funding grants.

Winners were chosen based on their project’s ability to address key threats to the Reef – such as climate change, poor water quality, impacts of coastal development and illegal fishing.

Their projects will also contribute to the Reef 2050 Plan – the Australian and Queensland governments’ 35 year plan for protecting the Reef.

The grants, aimed at assisting small scale stewardship projects at a school level, encourage Reef stewardship, citizen science projects and promote local partners and stakeholder collaboration.

Now in its fifteenth year, GBRMPA’s Reef Guardian Schools initiative has more than 290 schools, 7800 teachers and 127,000 students involved in building the Reef’s resilience.

Source: GBRMPA

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