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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

6 December 2005

Queensland schools receive awards for outstanding excellence in Reef guardianship

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, has congratulated two Queensland schools for winning this year’s Reef Guardian School programme.

Wartburg State School near Bundaberg and Wonga Beach State School north of Port Douglas will share the top honours in the annual Reef Guardian School programme.

Senator Campbell said the end of school year awards are designed to recognise schools that have achieved outstanding results in the programme during the year. The two winning schools will each receive $4000 in recognition of their efforts for outstanding excellence.

“Wartburg and Wonga Beach State Schools are both deserving of this award for outstanding excellence and they have involved their entire school communities in Reef Guardian projects,” Senator Campbell said.

Wartburg State School has created mini-habitat areas around the school grounds, removing weeds and revegetating native gardens, permaculture gardens, a vegetable garden and a bush tucker garden. The students also looked at how they could stop sediments from running into the wetland area behind their school and therefore improve the quality of water entering the Reef.

Wonga Beach State School adopted a wetland area behind their school that was completely degraded with overgrown weed and bad water quality that was leading out to the Reef. The students worked in partnership with their local council to clear the weed and plant over 1000 native trees. They helped test and monitor water quality and brought back native birds to the area.

“The schools’ projects are amazing and students have really made a difference in their community to help protect their local waterways and the Great Barrier Reef.

“The schools have formed links within their community through their Reef Guardian projects and are taking great steps to get all industries, businesses and individuals involved in activities to protect the Great Barrier Reef.”

Senator Campbell said 191 Queensland schools were now taking part in the Reef Guardian initiative compared to just 25 in the pilot programme two years ago.

Projects undertaken by many of the schools include calico bag initiatives, clean up days, energy police days, planting rainforest gardens and native plants, composting, recycling, drain stencilling, monitoring water quality in local waterways and storm water conservation programmes.

“So many of the schools involved in the programme have shown a remarkable effort in making a positive difference to the environment in their local communities,” Senator Campbell said.

Senator Campbell also congratulated a number of other Reef Guardian participants who won end of year awards.

North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre, Aloomba State School and Hambledon State School were recognised with Reef Guardianship awards for excellence, winning $2000 each.

Horn Island State School, Hermit Park State School, Belgian Gardens State School and Burdekin Christian College won $1000 highly commended awards. While a further four schools - Wellington State School, Nerimbera State School, Comet State School and Holloway’s Beach Environmental Education Centre - won $500 encouragement awards.

“I congratulate all Reef Guardian schools for their ideas and energy in helping to protect this remarkable natural asset and I applaud all of the participants for their outstanding work,” Senator Campbell said.

The Reef Guardian School programme is an initiative of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and is designed to recognise and foster an environmental stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef among programme participants and the general community.

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 0418 568 434 - 02 6277 7640

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