The Reef Islands Initiative Lady Elliot Island Volunteer Program has gotten off to a flying start with our first group ‘Friends of the Coral Cays’ lending a hand for 10 days removing invasive weeds and planting over 150 native tree species as part of the Island’s Revegetation Program.
“It’s a great experience to come to Lady Elliot Island and do some weeding in a totally different setting. It’s a beautiful Island but some weeds have really got away so it’s great to be part of a group to bring things back to the way the Island should be”. Ruth S, Friends of the Coral Cays group member.
With support from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Reef Islands Initiative, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Qld Parks and Wildlife, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is undertaking a large-scale 7-year Revegetation Program to re-establish the Island’s natural coral cay ecosystem following clearing from guano mining in the late 1800’s with the aim to increase nesting seabirds and turtle populations in the southern GBR. This work is guided by the comprehensive Ecosystem Resilience Plan (link) which has just been published.
The Initiative also includes the Leaf to Reef scientific research program in which volunteers also play a significant role recording marine species sightings. Lady Elliot Island officially opened the solar-powered Volunteer and Research Hub in February 2020 which hosts our volunteers as well as researchers.
Thanks to the QLD Government’s Rejuvenation Fund for their assistance in the establishment of the Hub and to the Reef Islands Initiative for supporting the volunteer program. The Reef Islands Initiative is a Great Barrier Reef Foundation program, supported by funding from Lendlease, the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, the Queensland Government and the Fitzgerald Family Foundation.
Quotes from videos
Ruth S (Friends of the Coral Cays group member):
“It’s a great experience to come to Lady Elliot Island and do some weeding in a totally different setting. It’s a beautiful Island but some weeds have really got away so it’s great to be part of a group to bring things back to the way the Island should be”
Joy and Larry B (Friends of the Coral Cays Group Leaders):
“Joy and I are members of the Friends of the Coral Cays. We’ve been doing our work on other cays further north. We’ve been here with our first group of volunteers. It’s gone very well and one of the major milestones we’ve just had is we’ve had the first seeds that have germinated from one of the plants, we planted here – the native mulberry. We are very proud of that!”
Jim Buck (Ecosystem Management Officer)
“We’ve had our first group of volunteers here on Lady Elliot Island. We have been waiting for many years to make this happen. It’s been spectacular and we have achieved more than we ever expected with out first group. They have been working really hard and the outcomes are brilliant. Involved in different types of work form different planting to different weeding and even got in for a snorkel today!”