Students help protect reef

CLEVELAND District High Year 12 students went Totally Wild on Monday, March 25 after heading down to Wellington Point to learn about REEFSearch, a new reef identification program.

The small team of biology and geography students were invited to take part in the new national program, which can be used by anyone to help gather information about Australian marine life.

While surveying marine life near King Island, a Channel Ten film crew captured the students hard at work for a segment to be aired soon on Totally Wild.

REEFSearch education officer Jodi Salmond said anyone could get involved in the national program but invited Cleveland High students to be some of the first in Australia to check it out.

"It is a reef identification and observation program that can be used by anyone snorkelling or scuba diving or anyone walking along the reef," she said.

"We ask volunteers to collect information by heading out with a research card to record interesting animal behaviours, habitats and any impacts that threaten them, like rubbish."

Jodi said it was an easy way to help record marine life habitats, which would then be stored in a national data base.

"It's only just been introduced to Queensland, but soon the program will be going across Australia," she said.

"It's so easy to get involved and it will help us to better understand reefs across Australia.

"It's also a great way for people to better understand what can impact marine life, like what rubbish can do to a marine ecosystem."

For more information about REEFSearch or to get involved visit www.reefcheckaustralia.org.

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