Education in action - Yuraygir National Park

On a recent camp to Yuraygir National Park, students from Mullumbimby’s Shearwater Steiner School conducted their own ‘Positve Change for Marine Life’ beach survey.

Along Sandon Beach in front of their campsite at Illaroo, the class divided into five groups, each led by a Year 11 Outdoor Recreation student. Each group collected rubbish from a 50-meter section of beach.

A disturbing amount of hard and soft plastic items, cigarette butts, fishing line and rope, random clothing items and other foreign objects were collected. Once back at camp students sorted and calculated their collection. Small pieces of hard plastic, particularly blue and green in colour were the most common type of rubbish. Collectively combined, the entire group removed over 12kg of rubbish from the beach, which was then disposed of correctly. 

Upon reflection, students expressed a disbelief that so much rubbish was actually present on what looked like a clean and unspoilt coastline. The type, size and colour of the predominant items stemmed further discussions. Students discovered that while there was a lot of rubbish on the beach, very little of it was actually dumped directly on the beach. This led the discussion to ocean currents and the importance of disposing of rubbish responsibly, no matter how close to the coast you are. As we all learned in Finding Nemo, all drains lead to the ocean.

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A huge thanks to Emma Sweeney for leading her student group and getting in touch with us to run this workshop.