Preserving marine life one class at a time

Published 5:00am 19 December 2023

Preserving marine life one class at a time
Words by Nadia Chapman

Clontarf Beach State High School has incorporated the Peninsula coastline into two of its subjects for the past 30 years.

As the only state high school on the peninsula offering a Marine Science and Aquatic Practices subject, Clontarf students learn about the importance of our oceans and aquatic environments.

Marine Science is a university pathway subject, and students complete four units across Year 11 and 12, including oceanography, marine biology, coral reef ecology and ocean management.

The Marine Science block at the school grounds is home to classrooms, a wet laboratory and a large aquaponics area.

Clontarf Beach State High School Head of Science Jen Nikol says the school also partners with local primary schools to deliver Marine Biology days.

“These sessions give the primary students the chance to complete hands-on activities and learn more about their local marine ecosystems,” Jen says.

Aquatic Practices delivers a vocational pathway for students, who learn about aquatic safety and how humans impact the aquatic environment.

Marine Science teacher Jasmine Munro says it is an interdisciplinary subject.

“(Marine Science) incorporates knowledge from a variety of subjects to understand the marine environment and the life it supports,” Jasmine says.

“We focus on coastlines and coastal processes, the value of marine ecosystems and the issues impacting fish populations, including climate change and overfishing.”

Preserving marine life one class at a time

Marine Science students also take part in activities outside school grounds, including spending a day on board the Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre’s boat gathering data.

“They learn how to measure environmental conditions such as salinity and temperature and use different sampling techniques including a Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) to determine the species present in the bay,” Jasmine says.

“One cohort was even lucky enough to spot a turtle swimming by on their camera footage, which was very exciting.

“We also have a day trip with Dolphin Wild Island Cruises. On this trip, students can snorkel at the Tangalooma wrecks, observing coral and feeding fish.”

Students who study Aquatic Practices are supported by the Woody Point Marine Annex, which is where the classes’ boats and canoes are housed.

Aquatic Practices teacher Amy MacDonald says the subject primarily focuses on aquatic ecosystems, water quality, aquatic biodiversity and aquaculture.

“Aquatic Practices aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of aquatic ecosystems, their conservation and sustainable management practices,” Amy explains.

As with Marine Science, Aquatic Practices students experience a variety of activities, including boating, kayaking, snorkelling, fishing and cooking with seafood.

“Students have frequent field trips in and around Clontarf, Redcliffe and Scarborough, as the school provides resources for this subject, including a bus,” Amy says.

“Students visit nearby beaches or aquariums, conduct water sampling at Frawley Fields and Woody Point and engage in fieldwork to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.

“I love teaching this subject as I feel it really creates a deeper connection to the local environment for the students.

“Embrace the journey, stay open to new experiences and enjoy the wonders of the water!”

View the full list of subjects and programs on Clontarf's website.

See the photos below (click through)

Photos by Dominika Lis

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