Making a splash in ocean conservation

Asset Publisher

17 April 2024

Public school life

An Australia-first marine program is turning students in the South-West into citizen scientists, empowering them to make an impact through coastline conservation.

Nature Conservation Margaret River’s ‘Ocean Learning’ program is encouraging Margaret River Primary School students to ‘think globally and act locally’ by becoming stewards for Australia’s first Educational Marine Area (EMA) on the Gnarabup coastline.

The students brought out the binoculars for some bird spotting with BirdLife WA.

Program officer, Tracey Muir, says the 12-month program involves practical, hands-on learning. Students will work with coastal and marine experts, identifying threats to the coastline and devising and implementing solutions. Their learning is then shared with the community.  

The Year 5 students relish swapping the classroom for Gnarabup Beach and are fascinated to learn more about the environmental significance of the region.

Margaret River Primary School teacher, Troy Yates, says the program has been integral in connecting the kids to the local bushland, the river, and now the coast.

“We walk the talk and don’t take initiatives like this for granted,” he said.”, Mr Yates said

Students identify a threat to an area of the local coastline and then apply their inquiry skills to research, collaborate and develop solutions in the classroom. 

Getting up close and hands-on with some of the local marine life.

At the end of this year, the 2024 ecological warriors will present their findings to teachers, parents and the community and then pass the torch to the 2025 Year 5 students at Margaret River Primary School.

“They get to pick up the project where this group leaves off, so our dedication to conservation is a continuous thing”, Mr Yates said.

“We hope to keep it going for generations to come.”