It’s not often you get the chance to put on a shell and take to the beach in the name of conservation.
Eager young learners of all ages came together recently at the Reef Festival Telstra Family Fun Day in Airlie Beach to find out more about how we can look after our reef and marine animals.
Children were able to put on turtle shells and make their way to the water’s edge like real sea creatures, stopping to read and learn about key threats on their journey.
Other activities on offer at the Reef Catchments stand included a competition to colour in and identify key marine threats, with more than 100 entries received.
Reef Catchments coastal officer, Olivia Brodhurst, said the day was a great way for young beach-goers to learn more.
“The activities helped children identify threats to our turtles and talk about ways in which we can all help in their conservation. They learned about simple things, for example the impact of houses, street-lights and torches, fishing and human activity,” she said.
“We really wanted to get the kids thinking about their day-to-day activities and they were very engaged and interested to try and understand how that can impact our marine environment and animals.”
Mrs Brodhurst said engagement with the community was essential to improving conservation efforts.
“It is particularly important we engage young people and families to help ensure that conservation actions required along our coast are well received and that the community is supported to make the necessary behavioural changes to help protect our precious reef species.
“We would like to thank everyone involved in the success of a terrific day, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Fauna Rescue, OUCH, the Airlie Aqua Park and Reef Festival organiser Ellen Kerr and the team.”
Five lucky marine threat colouring-in competition winners were given free passes to the Airlie Aqua Park, kindly donated for the event. Winners were: Sophia Stacey, Jai Dennison, Kaitlyn Hope, Josh Shanahan and Reubann Salbanha. Congratulations to all involved!
Reef Catchments is proud to deliver Coastcare activities in our community, supported through funding from the Australian Government.