REEFSearch launch event participant, Joanna Becker from New York: 'As a snorkeller, REEFSearch has changed the way I look at what I see in the water. I want to use it all around the world!'
AUSMEPA representative, Jody Plecas said of her experienc with the REEFSearch program 'There is no armchair education that can compare to really seeing, hearing and using touch to bring alive the reality of how ocean systems work. REEFSearch is an exemplary arm of Reef Check that is doing exactly that, getting student's feet wet. Not only do students get the opportunity to learn about their wild and wonderful marine world, they get to learn about it first hand as they monitor the health of the animals and plants of a reef. What a great way to round out a fuller understanding of this dynamic ocean planet, what hurts it and what you can do to help'.
Science Teacher, Chris Gauthier said of the program 'The Reef Search program enables students to understand their role in preserving and protecting the reefs that Australia is renowned for. Students gain an appreciation for how their own local actions can influence the reef and why these ecosystems are so important to protect ecologically. I found that students were really drawn to the hands on interactive approach of the reef search project, in particular knowing that the information they collect would be added to the national database. This unique approach really puts students in the driver seats and allows them to feel a sense of responsibility and citizenship of their local and national reef communities'.
Jodi Salmond, Reef Check Community Engagement Officer, says "REEFSearch is a simple, fun and engaging program that encourages enquiry based learning of the marine environment. We want students to feel empowered to protect their reefs and oceans. REEFSearch gives them the opportunities to do this, in and out of the classroom'.
Students commented on the program- 'I never knew there were so many aspects to the reef- the animals, their homes and the impacts that affect them. I never realised how much of an impact marine debris has either'. Another student said about the food web activity: 'Food webs seem easy, but they are actually really complex! There is so much to consider, and this activity really made me think about the roles each animal plays'.
REEFSearch also works with younger children, using the activities to introduce them to different concepts on the reef. Two younger participants (Age 6, and 10) had this to say: 'REEFSearch was awesome! I learnt that Octopuses have 3 hearts, and that corals have plants living inside them. We should help corals. They get hurt from pollution and people stepping on them. We shouldn't use plastic bags, and we should teach people how to look after coral'.
WildMob Eco Expo stall holder: 'Your REEFSearch stuff is AMAZING. It is so colourful, engaging and informative, that I stopped what I was saying just to listen to what your team are doing! Great work Reef Check Australia!'
Alison Mohr, REEFSearch launch participant: 'REEFSearch was awesome! It allows you to see so much more! I would definitely do it again- all the time! I recommend everyone give it a go, and help protect our precious ocean resources'
Gayle Mayes, University of the Sunshine Coast Lecturer: 'The best thing about the REEFSearch program is that it is an awareness raiser. It's a great opportunity to engage members of the public in simple, yet educational activities'
Cleveland District State High School students had this to say: "It was really informative and made us realise how bad the conditions of some of our reefs are and how we could improve them for the future," Caitlin, (Yr10). " It was really interesting, especially when I found out that it takes 450yrs for disposable nappies to decompose!" Jasmine, (Yr 10). Students also made posters, which displayed anti-rubbish campaigns. "It was difficult to come up with the slogans, but it helped us gain a better understanding of environmental impacts and what we can do to reduce them," Genevieve, (Yr 10). "Working with Reef Check Australia has been a wonderful and informative experience, and I hope to work with them again in the future," Bethany, (Yr 10)
If you have any questions or comments, please email us at REEFSearch@reefcheckaustralia.org