Boulton (1999) describes the important role that non-scientists can play in environmental monitoring and suggests that ideal indicators should be quick, cheap and easy to use, and the data readily assessed and understood. With this in mind, given the state of concern about the health of the Gladstone Harbour, the Harbour Watch initiative was inspired in 2011 by the Gladstone local marine advisory committee.
Schools are recognised as a valuable medium for operating the program and providing real life learning opportunities for students. The program also engages the Gladstone community in caring for their environment. All schools face a common issue; that is, a lack of time and resources for implementing authentic science based learning experiences. In 2012, with consultation from various Gladstone school teachers and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Harbour Watch initiative continued to develop.
In 2013, Australia Pacific LNG came on board and provided the critical financial sponsorship the program needed, and in April 2014 Harbour Watch was officially launched.
The program is facilitated by Boyne Island Environmental Education Centre and allows schools to extend their curriculum beyond the classroom with authentic real-life scientific monitoring.
Harbour Watch gives students exposure to high-quality, industry-standard scientific equipment, and allows students to develop operational skills and good scientific practice.
Through further funding from Gladstone Port Corporation and Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership, Harbour Watch has recently been able to expand the citizen science program. Harbour Watch has hosted water quality workshops, supervised water testing days, barge tours of Gladstone Harbour and Boyne River Catchment Crawls.
Harbour Watch has a team of dedicated Citizen Scientists currently monitoring their own waterways with our equipment and gathering data which is published on the international database
EarthEcho and our own online
If you are interested in becoming part of the citizen science water quality project, please