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Lucky students step into the shoes of a marine biologist for the day

09 May 2022

Australia’s best ‘Adventure Tourism’ provider Red Cat Adventures, led students from Mackay North State High School on an Immersive Learning Project earlier this year to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).

This fantastic family-owned business offer award-winning marine tourism experiences in the Whitsundays and now Mackay and have been supported by the department through the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund and the COVID-19 Marine Tourism Assistance Scheme.

The students were the first Mackay school group to participate in this Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority immersive learning program and were thrilled with the opportunity to “be a Marine Biologist for the day”.

The students used the snorkelling skills they’d been developing in the school pool to safely engage in the citizen science snorkelling surveys “CoralWatch” looking for signs of coral bleaching. They also completed “Eye on the Reef” survey looking for key reef species such as coral trout, turtles, grazing herbivores and sharks.

Staff and students were blown away by the experience and encouraged other schools to take part in this unique educational opportunity for partcipants to immerse themselves in an authentic live classroom to learn more about the rich biodiversity, history and heritage of the reef, and how to protect it.

The Great Barrier Reef Education Experience Program provides a subsidy to primary and secondary school students in Queensland undertaking school excursions along the length of the GBR, from Bundaberg to Cooktown. The program supports opportunities for students to undertake place-based learning activities in the GBR as well as providing opportunities for tourism operators in the region to enhance and develop educational products and experiences to stimulate new market travel and subsequent tourism visitation to the region.

The program has subsidised an impressive 10,000 students on 229 school excursions to visit the Great Barrier Reef since its launch in mid-2021.

Find out more about Queensland’s education experience programs for Queensland students and the opportunities to visit either the Great Barrier Reef, or Outback Queensland.