The challenges facing our local environment are presenting conservation managers with the dilemma of determining which actions to prioritise. To this end the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has commissioned local community groups to engage as many community members as possible will help.

Reef Ecologic are taking the lead on working with young people in the Burdekin region to contribute to the community action planning process. In partnership with NQ Dry Tropics and the Magnetic Island Community Development Association (MICDA) the aim is to develop two Community Action Plans (CAPs) that will enable regional communities to accelerate local Reef protection actions and strengthen connections with Reef science and management

Recent youth workshops at Pimlico State High school provided an opportunity for high school students to directly contribute to the design of the CAP. Students were given background information on the reef and the challenges it is facing, both local and global and asked to devise strategies for local communities could contribute to on-ground and in-water efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Twenty students from year 9, 10 & 11 participated in the 2 hour long workshop.  The students were actively engaged in helping Reef Ecologic and partners develop the community action plan for the Burdekin and Magnetic Island region.  “An exciting element of these CAPs is the focus on engaging young people and providing them with a voice, and a real opportunity to contribute to the future of their local communities,” Nathan Cook, Reef Ecologic’s Youth Engagement Coordinator said.

Pimlico State High School’s global education coordinator Rick Harting appreciated the fact that “the workshop was Interactive providing a range of activities that allowed the students to unpack what they thought was important for the reef and what their values were.“

“One of the biggest things we are often missing in schools is the opportunity for students to share their voice their opinions and actually have their voices heard. The students could see where their ideas were having an impact in the development of the community action plan” Mr Harting said.

“I feel proud to live near the Great Barrier Reef” Year 10 Pimlico High student Gabrielle Williams said. “We’re all part of this earth, Especially considering we are the ones endangering the Reef so we all need to protect it”.

The Burdekin Dry Tropics Community Action Plan is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.