Inspiring the Next Generation

Protecting our region’s land and sea is vital for the future sustainability and productivity of the Fitzroy Region and inspiring the next generation of young leaders to do just that is a key part of FBA’s work in natural resource management.

FBA recently offered a small group of teenagers from across Yeppoon the chance to participate in its first Land and Sea Youth Leadership Program, funded through the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

The students were given the chance to learn how people in our community are protecting the Great Barrier Reef through sustainable and regenerative farming.

They visited a range of properties to develop an understanding and see first-hand how what we do on the land can impact the health of the reef.

“The program has taught me how to preserve our world for future generations,”

Yeppoon State High School student Lily Davies said.

Throughout the program students took part in five sessions, including a visit to local permaculture farm High Valley Dawn where students were exposed to small scale permaculture with local landholder Ross O’Reilly and a walk through the market garden and food forest.

Ross taught the students about the unique and sustainable features of the property and how through permaculture farming they are protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

Students said this farm visit taught them the many ways to protect land and sea.

“It was a great experience to learn and see the impacts of climate change and talking about regenerative agriculture,”

St Ursula’s student Charlotte Horstman said.

Students also had a tour of a regenerative agriculture farm at Hedlow Creek with grazier and property manager Bill Oram.

The property, Laguna, is a large-scale commercial cattle property that runs along a large water system that flows into the ocean.

This property played a pivotal role in educating students about the importance of ground cover, riparian fencing and river health to help better safeguard the reef.

“FBA opened my eyes to how land care inland affects the Great Barrier Reef, through erosion and sediment being dragged down stream.”

St Brendan’s College student Scott Gibson said.

Students were exposed to the community’s Landcare projects and visited Farnborough Beach where they learnt about species protection and on-ground ecosystem restoration projects.

For the final excursion, participants also experienced a day on Konomie (North Keppel Island) where they removed weeds and planted trees to improve dune vegetation and were shown the renewable energy centre powering the island.

“The program inspired me to help the land and sea, and was very inspiring and hands on,”

St Ursula’s student Zoe Ahern said.

Students said the program helped change their perspective and actions towards environmental conservation.

Their comments included:

“It’s helped me to look for more practices I can use to look after our Earth and teach others to do the same.”

“It changed my perspective to be more aware of how I impact the environment around me.”

“It’s opened my eyes to the ways I can help the reef, it’s made me realise if we don’t change our actions now the future will not be good”

FBA is working to continue engaging with and inspiring students to be stewards of the natural environment.