A special guest attended the recent Science Together event celebrating 20 years of the Reef Guardian School program thanks to a letter from a local student.
Queensland Department of Education Director-General Michael De’Ath travelled to Bundaberg to see the event for himself after reading about it in a letter he received from Kalkie State School student Hudson Bird.
Hudson, who is in year three and wants to become a scientist one day, said he was super excited and proud of himself when he found out Mr De’Ath was coming because of what he wrote.
“My teacher asked us who wanted to write a letter and three of us put our hands up and I was the only one who was finished my work so she chose me,” Hudson said.
“It’s not the first one I’ve written, I’ve written about four letters to different people before.
“I talked about Science Together and how we’re trying to help to save the reef from coral bleaching and all the different types of threats to the coral and the Great Barrier Reef.”
Mr De’Ath said that the issues Hudson had written about were important to Queenslanders, Australians and the world.
“I think it's always really nice to receive letters from the students directly about the things that they are passionate about and Hudson had written a really great letter,” Mr De’Ath said.
“So it was a great opportunity to come up here and really acknowledge the terrific work that the kids have been doing in doing their bit to save the reef.”
Having looked at the displays created by the local Reef Guardian Schools, Mr De’Ath said he was very impressed by the sophistication of what they had created.
“One of the things I've been particularly impressed about is the depth of knowledge that quite young children bring to these issues and the science around them,” he said.
“It's pretty impressive!”
Reef Guardian Schools
The event, hosted by Reef Guardian Schools in conjunction with Bundaberg Regional Council and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), saw local schools, businesses, community and environmental organisations gather at the Multiplex on Monday.
The event also marked the beginning of National Science Week and saw the exhibition hall transformed into a showcase of inspiring environmental projects.
Students were also treated to an impressive line-up of speakers including Andy Ridley (CEO of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef), Ruben Meerman (the Surfing Scientist) and world-renowned scientist Dr Jordan Nguyen.
Reef Guardian School Program Manager Melissa Lane said the program aimed to provide teaching and learning opportunities to create awareness, understanding and appreciation for the reef and the threats to its sustainable future.
“We started the program in 2003 with five pilot schools and to have it now grown to 300 schools is just phenomenal,” Melissa said.
“We have 16 of those schools who have come together to celebrate the Reef Guardian School Program and learn how we can protect the Great Barrier Reef and coral reef ecosystems all around the world.”
Melissa said some examples of Reef Guardian School actions included implementing waste management and recycling programs, planting native species and water-smart gardens and monitoring classroom energy consumption.
“They are so passionate and you can really see that they are committed to doing positive actions for the reef,” she said.