Passionate citizen scientists and community representatives converged on the Great Barrier Reef to train in citizen science programs and complete surveys on areas rarely visited by volunteers.

Coral reefs are facing unprecedented threats from a combination of climate change and local pressures. This workshop was designed to empower others to understand the ways in which they can be part of the solution. This included personal analysis of lifestyle choices and training in monitoring methods.

12 ocean enthusiasts gathered for the leadership workshop workshop at Orpheus Island Research Station on the central region of the Great Barrier Reef in September 2019. Coordinated by Reef Ecologic in partnership with Reef Check Australia, Great Barrier Reef Legacy and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the workshop aimed to share contemporary scientific knowledge and deliver practical experience on reef surveying.

Involving an exciting schedule of expert presentations, immersive learning on reef surveying 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 surveying and understand the role it may be able to play in helping to understand and monitor the changes in coral reefs.

‘I had a fantastic week! It was so brilliant to be with like-minded people and learning new ways to help conserve the reefs. The emphasis on practical, in water learning was great, a really good way to cement all the classroom information. Can’t wait for the next opportunity to get involved!’ siad Reef Check Australia volunteer, Beth Scrivener.

Newly certified Reef Check Australia surveyor, Susanna Primavesi was inspired by the event. ‘A week full of emotion where we have enriched our scientific monitoring and ecological knowledge. Everyone can make small changes to have less impact on the environment and to save the ocean, the reef and other important and unique habitats.’

Christine Roper, science coordinator for partner organisation Great Barrier Reef Legacy said “It was so great meeting other ocean enthusiasts from a variety of backgrounds, to network and discuss opportunities on how we can help monitor and support reef resilience. In addition to gaining valuable practical experience in the field, I left the Reef Leadership Workshop feeling more empowered and equipped with the right tools and knowledge on how I as an individuals can reduce my carbon footprint. I’m looking forward to participating in future opportunities offered through this funding”

“Volunteers and community members often don’t get the chance to experience remote, rarely visited parts of the Reef, so it was great to be able to provide training to at Orpheus Island Research Station” said workshop coordinator Nathan Cook of Reef Ecologic. “Everyone’s passion and enthusiasm for the Reef and appetite to learn was a real credit to the participants and provides an inspiration for future opportunities of community engagement activities like these”.

The Integrated Coral Reef Citizen Science Program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.Reef Ecologic intends to hold additional Reef Leadership workshops in the future. Community members who may be interested are encouraged to get involved in these unique opportunities. For more information see or contact

Media contacts:
Nathan Cook                                          0437318802
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