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Seaweek 2013: Sustainable Seas

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Complete the Sustainability Ideas for the Great Barrier Reef KWL poster.

Evaluation and Reflection Activity:

Students sit in a circle and take turns saying what sustainability means to them, what they understand of the word sustainability and one new fact discovered about the Great Barrier Reef.

Play the ‘What’s a Stake Game’:

Students will investigate the meaning of a multiple-use Marine Park and the different types of stakeholders that use and rely on the Great Barrier Reef. Students will research the different uses of the Great Barrier Reef, the relationships between the stakeholders and natural resource management issues. Students will analyse the social, environmental, economical and cultural implications if the Great Barrier Reef is not managed in a sustainable way.


  • Traditional Owner

  • Commercial fishers

  • Recreational fishers

  • Charter and recreational boaters

  • Tourism operators

  • Tourists/visitors

  • Scientists/researchers

  • Shipping and ports industries


Write the stakeholder names on pieces of paper and place in a hat (two or three copies of each). Each student draws out a name and then arranges themselves in their stakeholder groups. Students work within their group to initially brainstorm ideas.

Discussion questions:

  • Who are we?

  • What do we do?

  • What is our relationship with the Great Barrier Reef?

Groups then share their ideas with the rest of the groups.

The groups then conduct research on their stakeholder with the following questions and then report back to class to discuss their findings:

  • What would happen to the Great Barrier Reef if we didn’t use it properly (sustainably)?

  • Would that affect other people the use the Great Barrier Reef? Who?

  • What would eventually happen to us if we don’t use the Great Barrier Reef in the right way (sustainably) now?

Students can share their findings in different ways. For example, in a discussion circle, mutli-media, posters, brochure or drama (play, poem, song, dance). Or the findings from each group could be added to a table to compare the research.


Going Further

Invite a guest speaker to visit the school. Someone from a scientific, research or education background could give a presentation on sustainability and the Great Barrier Reef. Companies you could ask include:

  • The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

  • The Australian Institute of Marine Science.

  • CRC Reef.

  • NQ Dry Tropics.

  • Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Story telling:

Sustainable Starts:

Start growing some vegetables and herbs in pots in the classroom or go one step further and create a vegetable patch or Permaculture garden in the school grounds.

Discussion Topics:

  • Where do the vegetables we buy in the supermarket come from?

  • What does it take to get the vegetables from the farm to the supermarket?

  • What is sometimes used to make the food grow fast? What is used to keep pests away? How can these affect the sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef?

  • What benefits can we, the Earth and the Great Barrier Reef receive if we make our own food?

What you can do at school to help look after the Great Barrier Reef:

  • Join the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Reef Guardian Schools program.

  • Encourage recycling and revegetation programs.

  • Reduce plastic use in your school / conduct a waste audit.

  • Conserve and manage water and energy use in school buildings.

  • Hold a clean-up day at your school, park, creek, beach or oval.

  • Open windows and catch the breeze rather than using an air conditioner.

  • Form an environmental committee in your school to try and make your school sustainable.

  • Use the 'at home' messages at your school - get everyone involved.

  • Take your rubbish home with you.

  • If you see rubbish, pick it up and recycle or dispose of it thoughtfully.

  • Turn your computer monitor off when not in use.

  • Have your air conditioner maintained regularly.

  • Share these messages and your knowledge about the Great Barrier Reef with others.

Become an AuSSI (Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative) School! ‘AuSSI engages participants in a whole-of-school approach, to explore through real-life learning experiences, improvements in a school's management of resources and facilities including energy, waste, water, biodiversity, landscape design, products and materials.

It also addresses associated social and financial issues. The Initiative's vision is for all Australian schools and their communities to be sustainable. Find out about the key elements and resources involved.’

Apply for the 2011/2012 National Solar Schools Program:

Join the CSIRO educational program called Carbon Kids. This program helps primary and secondary school communities to understand climate change, and encourages positive actions for sustainability. 

Next: Making Connections




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