While the Mackay and Whitsunday regions are fortunate to include one of the most stunning marine environments in the world, students from local schools which are on a waiting list to take part in marine education, may be left disappointed unless there is more local support.
Businesses in Mackay and the Whitsundays are invited to sponsor a student to make sure young marine-lovers can get hands-on out on the water, and the reef and islands as part of the Marine Classroom program. The program was set up in 2014 when Wild Mob and Reef Catchments joined forces to offer a learning adventure for local high school students at a subsidised cost, ensuring any student could afford to be involved.
Reef Catchments is the program’s major funding partner although, with many more schools being eager participate, funding support from local businesses is being sought to meet demand. Wild Mob CEO, Derek Ball, said during the first year the program took 63 local students to the Great Barrier Reef islands and as a result many more schools were eager to be involved.
Dr Ball said businesses could donate $500, which would cover the cost of taking one student out to the reef or they could help the program by becoming gold, silver or bronze level sponsors.
He said the program’s popularity proved the importance of connecting young people with the great outdoors. He said learning theory in a classroom and going outdoors to learn in real life, were two entirely different concepts.
Reef Catchments GM Katrina Dent strongly encourages other businesses to be involved. She said Reef Catchments was immensely proud to be able to provide Mackay and Whitsunday high school students with the chance to learn from the natural beauty of our region. Investment in youth was an investment into the future of the region.
The Marine Classroom Program is aligned with the senior marine science, oceanography and conservation and sustainability curriculums.
The program is looking for long term partners. Any business which is interested in sponsoring a student can contact Wild Mob through Derek Ball, 0400 835 895.