Scouts Australia kicked off the International Year of the Reef with an adventure on the Great Barrier Reef, contributing to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s scientific understanding at the same time.
Eighteen 15 to 18-year-old Venturer Scouts from across Australia were trained by the Marine Park Authority to do in-water reef health surveys and flexed their new knowledge by snorkelling and diving off Gladstone.
Under code name of ‘Get Dory,’ the Venturer Scouts, on expedition for AV2018, surveyed the reef off Heron Island, while based at the University of Queensland’s research station.
The results of the scientific surveys were provided to the Marine Park Authority’s Eye on the Reef Rapid Monitoring program, which enables any Reef visitors to collect and record valuable information about Reef health and marine animals.
The group covered a total of 480 square-metres over five days. They counted key species, including the grazing herbivore ‘Dory’, and completed a thorough visual assessment of coral cover and impacts in the area.
Scouts Australia Expedition Leader John Pring was pleased the Venturer Scouts were able to contribute to real science as part of their Reef outing.
“The Scouts were trained in the Eye on Reef Rapid Monitoring program and able to upload the data they collected to an established, scientific program — that kind of experience and sense of achievement is truly valuable to the youths involved,” he said.
Initial analysis of the data supplied by the Scouts Australia group is positive. Healthy reefs with good coral cover and vibrant wildlife were catalogued during their visit.
Don’t forget, you can set your own environmental challenge and earn the World Scout Environment Badge or Scouts of the World Badge!