Project BioD

BioD Responds to New Conservation Strategy for the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) released the draft

Great Barrier Reef Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (2012)” for public consultation and feedback. The consultation period lasted until September 28, 2012.

In its response, Project BioD felt the objectives of the draft conservation strategy were excellent but had doubts on the efficacy of certain actions suggested to ensure the objectives were met.

For the first objective “Engage communities and foster stewardship” suggested key actions were:

• Develop and implement an overarching communications strategy that includes use of web site, media and social media.

Apart from raising awareness among the Australian public, we believe it’s critical to educate tourists. Up to two million tourists visit the Great Barrier Reef in any one year.*

How do we educate tourists? By enabling them to participate and be more engaged in their Australian experience. This implies that travel and tour operators need to be able to provide tools that enable tourists to be engaged with their surroundings in ways that are innovative. BioD is working on several solutions here.

• Undertake education and extension activities to raise public awareness of the continuing impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem.

One simple question: why is it that most kids are not familiar with the names of the trees in their school yards but can easily identify a brand of car, or the complete taxonomy of, say, character types, skills, spells, armour and weaponry, in an online RPG?

Innumerable surveys on the general online behaviour of children convinces us that in order to really capture the young minds, you have to see the world the way they do – via games, games and more games. It is the era of learning through gamification. We believe kids will be far receptive to this form of learning that through brochures or posts on social media.

The core strategies of the draft conservation strategy are excellent but we wonder if the path of achieving the goals may be somewhat obsolete – especially when it comes to engaging the future stewards of our land: our kids.

*http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/visit-the-reef/visitorcontributions/gbr_visitation/numbers

The draft strategy is attached below:

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Online Biodiversity Games and Education