Instead of spending their school holidays hibernating, a group of nine Year 12 students from Fahan School and their Biology teacher escaped the cold and spent a week on Queensland’s tropical, deserted Brampton Island taking part in a conservation project run by the not for profit Wild Mob.
Located at the southern end of the Whitsundays, Brampton Island’s National Park and surrounding reefs support a diversity of wildlife and native flora, which are threatened by washed up rubbish and introduced flora.
Wild Mob, which was started in 2008 by Wotif.com founder Graeme Wood, liaises with natural resource managers to identify projects, assess immediate and continuing requirements, develop conservation programs and then coordinate volunteers to assist with the work.
The Fahan group was the first school group from Tasmania to take part in Wild Mob’s Brampton Island conservation and education project.
Bill Sykes, Wild Mob Operations Manager, and Amanda Scrivenor, a Wild Mob Project Leader and Marine Biologist, oversaw their stay on Brampton Island.
“The girls worked well as a team on the Beach Rainforest Rehabilitation and Marine Debris Cleanup, which involves removing plastics that threaten endangered turtle species and other marine life,” Mr Sykes said.
During the six days spent on the Island they removed over 300 kilograms of weeds and 200 kilograms of rubbish from the Denge Bay area.
Aimee Woodward, Fahan School’s Biology teacher, said that the trip was a worthwhile experience for the group of Year 12s who have come back prepared to actively participate in creating a more sustainable future.
“As Year 12 students the girls are naturally considering their career paths post-Fahan. The week we spent on Brampton Island, and we were the only people on the Island, showed them the types of careers that could have a very positive effect on the future,” Mrs Woodward said.
One student, Connor Charles, said that she had decided that she wants to study Marine Biology, while another student, Rosie Battaglene, said she would like to pursue the study of Environmental Law.
The rest of the group talked about how they will adapt their practices at home in order to make a positive difference to ecosystems such as Brampton Island’s.
The girls had the opportunity to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef and saw Green Sea Turtles, Epaulette Sharks, Sand Sharks, Sting Rays and many fish and coral species.
“When we were exploring the Island I found a series of rock pools and saw that there was a turtle trapped in one of them,” Year 12 student, Olivia James, said.
“We had to carry it back to the water and our project coordinators, Bill and Amanda, said that if we had not found the turtle it would have died.
“It is a really rewarding experience to know that you have helped to save the life of an endangered animal.”
As well as helping to preserve a vital ecosystem the group benefited from spending time in a practical learning environment.
The students learnt about and discussed evolutionary change using the example of the new species of eucalyptus tree on Brampton Island that has not yet been investigated.
They walked around the entire island in order to note the changes in forest, plant and animal populations.
The girls also got back to basics during their visit – showering with a bucket, camping as the only human inhabitants on the Island and living without access to electricity and the Internet.
For more information on Wild Mob’s school projects visit the website www.wildmob.org or phone Wild Mob on 07 3369 9665.
To view more photos from the project please click here to visit the Wild Mob website.