Mission Beach School Extends Rehabilitation of Wetlands
December 8, 2015
Mission Beach State School is in the process of completing the restoration of natural wetlands at the school thanks to a Community NRM Grant.
The school is one of 19 community groups in the Wet Tropics region who received project funding through the programme. The $29,110 grant is enabling it to complete the project, which began after Cyclone Yasi caused significant canopy disturbance and subsequent invasion of weeds.
The restoration plan was developed by a number of partners with funding being contributed by Dunk Island View Caravan Park, Cassowary Coast Regional Council through its Reef Guardian Programme, and the Cassowary Coast River Trust and Local Marine Advisory Committees.
Continuation of the project will involve the construction of a gravel access pathway from the site entrance down to a ‘Learning Space’ outdoor classroom to improve access and usability for school and other visitors.
Judy Heath, a teacher at the school, said a lot of the National Science Curriculum can be covered by studying the Wetlands.
“The Year 5 and 6 students have taken ownership of the Wetlands and are thoroughly enjoying the maintenance as well as the science learning. Having easier access to the water throughout the year will enable them to collect more accurate data, more frequently,” she said.
The students have also highlighted a need to construct a water sampling platform so they can access and collect data on water quality all year around.
With the students showing a keen interest in continuing to plant trees in the area and control weeds based on their observations, the project also aims to plant a further 3000 trees over three years with the assistance of external partners. The students will be involved in hand weeding, mulching and other maintenance activities to educate them about wetland restoration.
As a Reef Guardian School, Mission Beach State School, has a strongly developed wetlands curriculum and will be using the site as a resource to undertake practical water quality monitoring, flora and fauna surveying and data collection activities. They have been tracking water quality and fish assemblages in wetlands since 2009 and are monitoring changes as they occur.
A number of partners have contributed time, knowledge and effort towards these learning and educational activities including GBRMPA, Girringun, Djiru, QPWS, LMAC, C4, FRRR, Council staff and Reef Guardian Fishers.