PASSPORTS PACKED FOR A JOURNEY INTO THE MARINE ESTATE
School students in the Coffs Coast and Grafton areas are preparing their Passports for a marine journey like no other into the Solitary Islands Marine Park.
Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast and Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis said the newly established Marine Estate Agents Program is a great way for schools to bring the local marine environment into their classrooms.
“Students will discover what is in their blue backyard, the Solitary Islands Marine Park, by completing a series of tasks in their Marine Estate Agents Passport,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“The Passport enables a guided learning experience for primary school aged children that includes important topics such as local marine biodiversity, threatened species, marine debris, important marine habitats and protected area management.
“We developed this program, linking with the school curriculum, to enable students to connect to their marine environment at a young age, identify potential threats and make decisions in the best interest of a healthy marine environment into the future.”
The students will work through a series of tasks in the Passport and will learn about what they can do to protect the marine environment, and also, how they can share this information in a creative way with family, friends and the broader community.
“One topic we give greater consideration to in the Passport is the impact of litter on our marine life through entanglement and ingestion,” said Andrew Fraser, Member for Coffs Harbour.
“We have been very pleased with how many schools have participated in the program in its first year, and have enjoyed seeing how the students complete their tasks with enthusiasm and creativity.
“At the completion of each task the students receive a stamp in their Passport – a journey complete.”
To reward schools for their participation in the Marine Estate Agents Program the Solitary Islands Marine Park will award three Environmental Awards and book prizes for their libraries.
Schools can still enter the Marine Estate Agents Program, however, time is running out and completed passports are due on 29 May 2015.
Participation rates within the school will be assessed and award winning schools will be announced on World Oceans Day on 8 June 2015.
30 April 2015
For media comment contact Andrew Fraser on 6652 6500.