Local schools, businesses, community and environmental organisations will gather this month to celebrate 20 years of the Reef Guardian School program with Science Together.
The event, hosted by Reef Guardian Schools in conjunction with Bundaberg Regional Council and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), takes place at the Multiplex on 14 August which also marks the beginning of National Science Week.
Students will showcase their environmental projects and interests alongside an impressive line-up of speakers includes world-renowned scientist Dr Jordan Nguyen.
Event coordinator Judith Stutchbury said the idea behind the event was for regional students to celebrate science in support of the Reef Guardian School program.
“We are very fortunate to be living on a global treasure in our Bundaberg Region – we have the Great Barrier Reef and the endangered loggerhead nesting and hatching turtles on our doorstep,” Judith said.
“There is so much science and fascination at our fingertips and it is so engaging for students.
“Regional students don’t often get the chance to experience these speakers and come together at many conventions, so we created Reef Together in 2018 and now Science Together in 2023.”
The event will be open to the public between 3 pm and 4 pm where visitors can engage with the exhibitions on display and see what projects schools are involved in.
“The aim is to share ideas and inspire others,” Judith said, adding that displays would include ideas around recycling, nude food and energy efficiency.
Reef Guardians is a stewardship program started by the GBRMPA in 2003 which recognises the good environmental work undertaken by schools, communities and industries to protect the reef.
“The program involves working closely with those who use and rely on the reef, or its catchment, for recreation or business, to help build a healthier and more resilient reef,” Judith said.
“The program demonstrates that a hands-on, community-based approach can make a real difference to the health and resilience of the reef.
“Reef Guardians are taking on voluntary actions beyond what is required by law and sharing information.
“These actions will help to improve the economic sustainability of industries operating in the Great Barrier Reef region and ensure the environmental sustainability of the Marine Park.”
Reef Guardian Council
Mayor Jack Dempsey said Bundaberg Regional Council was proud to be a Reef Guardian Council, working together with local schools to spread awareness about the Great Barrier Reef.
“The Bundaberg Region has a very important role in caring for, protecting and supporting our surrounding reef,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“With the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland, and the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region right in our backyard, the reef is a fundamental part of our identity.”
Council’s commitment includes activities centred around stormwater management, litter reduction, waterway clean-ups, reducing the glow, a net zero target and carbon reduction at waste facilities.
“We also achieved Eco Destination Certification earlier this year which is supporting the local tourism industry to tap into a multi-million-dollar industry while protecting and celebrating our natural attractions,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Our community has a passionate and very strong connection with the reef and with the help of local Reef Guardian Schools, together we are making it our mission to protect this natural wonder of the world that sits right on our doorstep.”
Science Together will celebrate 20 years of Reef Guardian Schools on 14 August at the Bundaberg Multiplex, 1 Civic Avenue.