The Bundaberg Region played host to the inaugural CoralWatch youth ambassador workshop last week, where young environmental advocates gathered to explore and advocate for coral and reef conservation.
The workshop, which ran from 11 to 14 December, was open to 8-to-14-year-olds within 200 km of the Bundaberg Region to attend along with a passionate adult or guardian.
Participant and St Luke’s Anglican School grade six student Georgina Mura, said she was eager to be involved having always been interested in the sea.
“I wanted to help the ocean because I’ve always found great fun in being around the ocean and I’ve wanted to do marine biology for a really long time, that’s been one of my dream jobs,” Georgina said.
“We got to go out to Lady Musgrave and go to the Great Barrier Reef with all these different types of corals.
“We saw anemones, barracudas, jellyfish, turtles, we even saw parrotfish which I’ve never seen before.”
Georgina said she’d really enjoyed getting the chance to learn new things and meet new people at the workshop.
“It’s been really fun,” she said.
“I’ve learnt a lot and I’m really happy that I got to see some of my friends and got to make new friends and I got to do it all with my mum.”
Grade six student Jasper Stern travelled from Hervey Bay and said he was eager to be involved after finding out about the program at school.
Jasper said the highlight of the workshop was when the group visited Lady Musgrave Island.
“Yesterday we went to Lady Musgrave Island and did some recording of the coral there,” he said.
“There’s definitely a lot of theory but it’s really fun to learn about it and lots of people don’t realise coral isn’t just a rock, there’s a lot more to it – actually it’s made of animals.”
CoralWatch project manager and workshop coordinator Diana Kleine said they were excited to have hosted their first workshop for youth ambassadors and were thrilled with the outcome.
“We run regular ambassador workshops with adults but we have one local youth ambassador already in the area [Elijah Richardson] and he inspired us to get a group of youth ambassadors together,” Diana said.
“It's amazing to get youth involved because, of course, youth is our future generation and they can sometimes actually convey messages even better than we can.
“The youth [are] very proactive in this group and it is pretty amazing how confident they are and how much they have already learnt about sustainability.
“It will be them with future jobs that will decide how the future is going to look, so to work with families is super valuable in really protecting reefs for the future and not only reefs but protecting the whole planet in the future.”