Forest Beach near Ingham was the perfect setting for the recent Reef Guardian Future Leaders Eco Challenge.
Twentyone students travelled from Bambaroo, Ingham and Mt Fox State Schools and Our Lady of Lourdes School to attend the challenge.
A partnership of Reef Guardian Partners including local teachers, traditional owners, LMAC, Terrain and GBRMP delivered informative and interesting activities for the students which they thoroughly enjoyed.
Students reveled in water quality monitoring activities and Jacqui Richards from Terrain talked the students through a storyboard activity where they learned about what affects our water quality and how they can help and encourage others to reduce their impacts and prevent harmful pollutants entering waterways.
They learnt that managing water quality requires a catchment-based approach as land uses have a major effect on the quality of water resources.
The students also walked to the Paperbark Wetlands, where they learned about the effects on fish and other organism when a waterhole dries out.
They used various equipment to measure Water Quality in the wetland, and were encouraged to make predictions on what these measurements might mean. The pH test measured 7.5, indicating that the water was neither too acid, nor too alkaline and was still ok for birds and other creatures to inhabit.
The HLMAC Chair explained that as part of the wetting and drying cycles of many wetlands every year, fish will be trapped in the warm shallow water and die, which provides food for many bird species.
This activity taught the children that wetlands are not always wet and the important role rain and water flow has in allowing many creatures to access and escape water holes to breed, grow and be able to swim back to the Reef.