Traditional Owners, scientists, business, industry and community group representatives converged on Orpheus Island (Goolboddi) north of Townsville to learn and share knowledge on current and emerging issues, technologies and solutions to assist the recovery and restoration of coral reefs.

The Great Barrier Reef and corals worldwide are facing unprecedented pressure from a combination of global climate change and localised health threats. Reef managers can make a difference to reef health by reducing threats and improving coral reefs using methods such as reef restoration and coral gardening.

Orpheus Island Research Station (OIRS) hosted 29 attendees for the second annual Reef Restoration and Leadership Workshop over November 15-18. Coordinated by Reef Ecologic in partnership with James Cook University, TROPWater and the National Environment Science Program, the workshop aimed to share contemporary scientific knowledge and practical experience on reef restoration and develop skills in leadership.

Involving an exciting schedule of expert presentations, immersive learning on reef restoration methods and the memorable personal experience of snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, the workshop provided a unique opportunity for participants to enhance their knowledge of reef restoration and understand the role it may be able to play in helping to build the resilience of the Reef at local scales.

“Restoration is really new for the Great Barrier Reef,” said Dr Ian McLeod at TROPWater and James Cook University . “One of the exciting things about a new field like this is that it brings together people from different backgrounds coming together with new ideas and they can all contribute to new solutions to the Reef.”

“One of the highlights for me has been the discussions between scientists, NGOs, tourism operators and the Indigenous participants” said Reef Ecologic Director Associate Professor Adam Smith. “We all come from different backgrounds but we all share the same passion for the environment and reef health. It has been fantastic to see those connections and I am really looking forward to the opportunity for future collaborations where we can work together and supercharge to make a difference for our communities and the Reef.”

Darrius Mann, a member of the Darumbal people of Central Queensland said the workshop had been a great opportunity for him and the next generation. “Through my participation in this course I am taking home a new door opening. I want to be in the ocean more than I wanted to previously, he said.  “I hope that through this experience I will be able to find more opportunities for ocean based work and conservation to be an example for the younger generation who will be inspired to care for country.”

Catfish Creative founder Cath Leach said she had ‘learned so much’ from the workshop.“As a graphic designer in the space of marine conservation and marine science I saw this as an opportunity to learn more about coral reefs and marine science,” she said. “I have learned so much not only from the presenters but all the other participants of the workshop.”

Ecosure General Manager Dianne Lanyon said “I have made some amazing connections with like minded people. Especially inspirational was making connections with the traditional owners of country and deepening connections to the Reef.”

Community participant Gary Farr noted the exchange of ideas amongst participants. “We haven’t had three teachers, there have been 30,” he said.

Media contacts:

Assoc Prof Adam Smith                        0418 726 584
Nathan Cook                                       0437 318 802
Boyd Robertson                                       0458 144 909

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