A new Gold Coast environmental education and waste management program is preparing to inspire the next generation of environmental crusaders.
Project 2020 – a program designed to educate four to 12-year-old students about environmental science and water pollution – will be implemented in more than 30 Gold Coast schools in September.
The program was developed by environmental consultancy Glowing Green Australia and not-for-profit organisation Sustainable Schools Network.
Glowing Green Australia director Larissa Rose has been leading environmental assessments on the Gold Coast for the past 10 years.
Ms Rose said environmental science and ecological assessment were essential skills needed to support the critical environmental management on the Gold Coast.
“We are so lucky to have world class national parks and coastlines, but we need to work collaboratively to ensure they stay that way,” she said.
“We hope to up skill the next generation of community leaders about plastics in our waterways, the importance of waste management and instil an appreciation of Australia’s unique and biodiverse ecosystems.”
Project 2020 was set to launch in schools in May as training workshops, but COVID-19 restrictions forced the program to evolve.
Thanks to $17,800 in Federal Government funding, digital content will replace Project 2020 school workshops during COVID-19.
Participating schools, which include All Saints Anglican College, Currumbin State School and Head Start Burleigh Learning Centre, will run education and auditing projects independently via video modules and e-learning resources aligned with their existing curriculum.
Bonney MP Sam O’Connor said Project 2020 was important, especially after the Coastal Community Engagement Program run by the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management and the City of Gold Coast was “abruptly ceased” in July.
The Centre’s education and conservation programs, such as BeachCare, CoastEd, and CoastWatch, were vital programs on the Gold Coast for 18 years.
“Any additional initiatives to enable waste management and environmental education is important, because we can’t go without them,” Mr O’Connor said.
“I volunteered [with the Coastal Community Engagement Program] for the last few years, and from what I’ve seen it was a brilliant program and we need more like it.
“It’s sad to see it go,” he said.
“Personally, I have so many questions and am interested in what the new City of Gold Coast program plans will look like.”
“We need to look after our beautiful city.”
A spokesperson for City of Gold Coast said: “At this stage, it is anticipated that the new Coastal Community Engagement Program will be progressively rolled out, with preliminary activities planned to start in September.
“The City is currently reviewing the program methodology, including the model for engagement in light of COVID-19, particularly in respect of how volunteer events will function,” the spokesperson said.
“Coastal education will continue to be supported and the City is currently working towards a revised delivery model.”
Former Tourism Queensland boss Terry Jackman AO said major selling points of the Gold Coast were the beaches and the ocean.
“Without our beaches as clean, pure and perfect as they can be, tourism is evidently going to decline,” Mr Jackman said.
“We definitely need Gold Coasters to protect it,” he said.
To register your school/centre’s participation in Project 2020, visit their website.