Flying Fish Point State School students ‘get their hands dirty’ for the environment

Dr Fay Falco-Mammone from Johnstone Region Landcare explains to students how to tell the difference between reed plants and weeds.

IN 2019, Flying Fish Point State School was successful in securing a Local Action Community Reef Protection Grant to conduct a wetland restoration activity.

The original project was to create a billabong at the school, but this was shifted to a public site, which is easily accessible and more beneficial to the community.

Work completed so far includes restoring the reedy drain that runs parallel to the main drain at Warrina Lakes.  

The Johnstone Region Landcare team manually weeded the area, as well as planted some other reeds within the water section. 

Johnstone River Catchment Management Association (JRCMA) installed a pipe that runs from the main drain to the reedy drain in order to maintain water levels for the reeds.

This activity involved students and staff learning about value of wetlands and reedy drains, species of plants that are beneficial, and types of birds and animal life that inhabit the wetlands.

Reeds and other wetland plants take up nutrients and filter the water, which is extremely important for farming, coastal areas, and the region.

In the long term, these processes will have a positive impact on water quality to the Great Barrier Reef. 

Dr Fay Falco-Mammone, Jenny Dall, Katherine Fisher, and Errol Colman from JRMCA coordinated the on-ground activities, which involved the whole school with students from Prep to Year 6.

Many coastal wetlands have suffered from human impacts and this project, although small, has much potential in its environmental and education values to create positive outcomes in the future.

“Therefore, we have involved the Flying Fish Point State School students, as they have adopted this project and over time will continue to nurture and monitor this wetland site as part of their school activities.”

“We are always excited to be educating the younger generation and helping them ‘get their hands dirty’ to improve the natural landscape in our region.”

During a walk of the wetlands, students were shown an example of sedge and grass and their differences and any signs of insect and bird life, which they observed, were recorded.

Students planted Bulkuru sedge, grey rush, lomandra, paperbarks, red leaf figs, and cordylines at the water’s edge, which provide an important food source and shelter for the wetland inhabitants.

This activity provides a unique partnership opportunity with Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Johnstone Region Landcare, Johnstone River Catchment Management Association, and Mamu traditional owners, which will improve and educate future generations.

The project is funded through a partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

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