We were all really excited and a bit silly when we met the boat at the pier to go to the reef. My friends couldn’t wait to get off the boat and start looking for life among the coral.
Our class had joined CoralWatch so we could study coral bleaching on this excursion to our closest reef. We first looked at their website www.coralwatch.org and ordered their education kit.
When the kit arrived, it had 30 colour cards called the Coral Health Chart. These charts show the colour of coral and the changes in its colour as it becomes bleached. How easy is that! We had to learn how to move around the reef at low tide and not damage the coral or hurt ourselves. We organised ourselves into small groups and worked out how we would look after our record sheets, digital cameras, drinks and food.
Kids with CoralWatch coral health chart
The first things we saw when we arrived at the reef were small fish scuttling for cover under some coral. I found a small colorful shrimp and my best friend; she saw a beautiful shell that she thought might be a poisonous cone shell.
We got busy using our Coral Health Chart and records sheets. The results showed that most of the coral we were looking at was affected by bleaching. This was very disappointing.
Back at school we entered our results into the CoralWatch website. We talked about the future of our coral reefs and some students were angry that nothing is being done. I said I might become a marine biologist and went away and looked up what courses are offered at the James Cook University near Townsville.
CoralWatch coral health chart