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Cassowary Coast FLEC 2012

20120928-Cass-Coast-FLECSixty three students and 15 teachers from 13 schools in the Cassowary Coast region joined together for the Cassowary Coast Reef Guardian School Future Leaders Eco Challenge.

The theme of the 2012 FLEC was "Inshore Great Barrier Reef: Bursting with Biodiversity". The students and teachers participated in 3 activities during the day.

The activities aimed to help the students: recognise the importance of healthy coastal habitats to the health of the Inshore Great Barrier Reef; recognise the threats marine debris has to the biodiversity within these waters; and discover the tremendous diversity of life that occupies the intertidal areas of the Inshore Great Barrier Reef.

In the first activity of the day the students mapped and collect data on the coastal vegetation and weeds in the area of the boat ramp and Taifalos Park, Kurrimine Beach. This vegetation included rehabilitated areas where tree planting has been conducted by the CCRC and the Kurrimine Beach Coast Care group. This data will be made available to the CCRC and the Kurrimine Beach Coast Care group for future monitoring of the outcomes of the revegetation efforts in this area. (Photo: Lower Tully State School Students)

In the days second activity the students conducted a Marine Debris Beach Clean Up on behalf of the Tangaroa Blue Foundation. The students collected marine debris along Kurrimine Beach and recorded data on the amount and type of items found. The Students collected Marine debris along a 200m section of Kurrimine beach adjacent Taifalos Park. Seven full bags weighing 40 kilograms were collected. Cigarette butts, plastic food packaging and plastic remnants were the most common items found. The students were concerned to find 69 m of discarded fishing line at this popular fishing location. They want to remind all fishers that discarded fishing line is a major contributor to marine animal stranding and ask that all fishers dispose of unwanted fishing line responsibly. The students hope that the data they collected will assist Tangaroa in their research on the source and make up of marine debris in North Queensland.

In the final activity of the day the students conducted a biodiversity survey of the intertidal zone of Kurrimine beach. With the assistance of local Marine experts Peter Rowles and Peter Faulkner along with Phil Laycock from the GBRMPA the students explored the diversity of marine life found living in the beach, sand flat and reef zones of the Kurrimine beach intertidal habitat.

The students were reminded of the vulnerability of our inshore Great Barrier Reef environment and biodiversity with the discovery of the remains of a dead turtle during the marine debris clean up. All involved in the day want to spread the message that we can all look after the Great Barrier Reef and protect the biodiversity of species in our inshore habitats, by looking after our coastal vegetation, cleaning up plastic rubbish along our coastlines and supporting our councils and our farmers in their efforts to improve water quality.