14 February 2017
World Wetlands Day 2017 in Townsville
Local students and environmental volunteers were given an insight into the importance of wetlands in mitigating disasters and their role in a healthy Great Barrier Reef on World Wetlands Day this year. The day's activities were run in part through the Delivering Biodiversity Dividends to the Barratta Creek Catchment project, which is supported by Conservation Volunteers Australia through funding from the Australian Government.
World Wetlands Day celebrates the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2nd February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Twenty Year 12 science students from Ayr High School (pictured below) and 23 Townsville environmental volunteers participated in a field trip to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and Great Barrier Reef Aquarium (Reef HQ), hosted by the Lower Burdekin Wetland Committee.
Merv Pyott, Senior Project Officer Conservation Volunteers Australia said, ‘Each year the local wetlands committee organizes an event to help celebrate the day. With this year’s theme being ‘Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction’ committee members thought it would be an opportunity to visit the wonderful research and education facilities we have on our doorstep in Townsville. Staff from Reef HQ and AIMS provided the students with a wonderful educational and informative tour, and one which may even encourage a few of the students to take up marine science’.
Volunteers from eight community groups who attended the day commented that the information and knowledge they gained will be used in their work to protect and restore the reef and wetlands.
Students and volunteers learnt how wetlands including mangroves, rivers and flood plains, and coral reefs are ecologically connected and how these systems reduce the impacts of floods and cyclones. Healthy wetlands have a critical role in filtering pollutants from the land and maintaining biodiversity, including the fish we like to eat.
Terri Buono, Project Officer, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said ‘The generous financial support provided by the Queensland Wetlands Program, Conservation Volunteers Australia and NQ Dry Tropics made the field trip possible. It was great to see scientists explaining what their organisations and research are achieving to the students and the important role AIMS and Reef HQ have in communicating the role of science in such research.’
Event co-ordinators would also like to encourage people aged between 18 and 25 years of age to participate in the Wetlands Youth Photo Contest for a chance to win a free flight to visit a Wetland of International Significance (Ramsar site). Go to: http://www.worldwetlandsday.org/photo-contest
For more information contact Conservation Volunteers Ayr, QLD
20 Queen Street, Ayr, QLD 4807, Australia
07 4783 4344 / 0477 912 274
Below: The day's events featured in the Burdekin Advocate on Wednesday 8 February.