In February, the Lizard Island Research Station was part of a project that provides disenfranchised youth with an opportunity to make a difference on the Great Barrier Reef.
As part of a combined community outreach and eco-tourism venture, Team Wild Yachting (a not-for-profit organization that works with at-risk and disenfranchised youth in far north Queensland), took ten passengers on a 4 day trip to East and West Hope Islands and Lizard Island. In what was a winning experience for all involved, the team participated in various conservation and beach clean-up activities, sailed around the reef, hiked, swam, snorkeled and, of course, visited the Research Station.
Lyle Vail, one of the Station’s Directors, treated the team to a tour of the facilities, explaining the exciting research being carried out on site and its importance to the Great Barrier Reef and marine science in general. Those present gained a greater appreciation for the issues facing the Reef, and were excited to see research being done by scientists from all over the globe.
The group’s clean up efforts were impressive, collecting 77 thongs, 70 plastic bottles, 13 glass bottles, 25 large pieces of polystyrene, 5 lighters, a fluorescent light bulb, a hydraulic pipe, rope, buoys and more. All of this has been sent to the Tangaroa Blue Foundation for analysis, which will determine whereabouts the rubbish originally came from.
The trip was a huge success, providing young, at-risk community members with new pathways and opportunities, as well as helping keep the Great Barrier Reef clean and healthy.