A GENTLE TOUCH: Bowen's iconic Walk to the Lighthouse event will be more environmentally friendly this year.
A GENTLE TOUCH: Bowen's iconic Walk to the Lighthouse event will be more environmentally friendly this year. CONTRIBUTED

Leaving no footprints

A NEW grant will mean that Bowen's iconic Walk to the Lighthouse event will be more environmentally friendly than ever, with a new education program helping to drive changes critical to improving the Great Barrier Reef's long term health.

The Leaving No Footprints education project is a joint effort by Bowen Tourism and Business and the Bowen-Burdekin Local Marine Advisory Committee (BBLMAC) to inform the community and tourists alike about the importance of marine health and protection.

The project is funded through a partnership between the Federal Government's Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

BBLMAC chairwoman Anne Smith said that the grant would be used in different ways, all in the hope of helping sea life.

"The grant money will be used for interpretative signage and brochures informing people about the marine life and importance to look after the habitat," Mrs Smith said.

"The money will also be used to have marine biologists at the Walk to the Lighthouse event to educate the public."

Marine biologists attending the event will help walkers to learn how to minimise their environmental footsteps, as well as warn what actions may hurt or damage local marine life.

Bowen Tourism and Business chair Jenn Honnery said that she was excited to be working with the BBLMAC on a project that would directly influence the Reef and its health.

"Bowen Tourism and Business welcomes over 40,000 visitors through the Big Mango Information Centre annually," Ms Honnery said.

"This will provide a fantastic opportunity to deliver this message of reef protection that will ultimately change human behaviour in both local and Queensland based reef interactions."

She said the grant would allow them to work with local schools in informing them about the local marine life.

"Combined with a local education program we envisage a new generation eager to protect our reef and its wonderful sea life," Ms Honnery said.

Bowen Tourism is looking for volunteers for this year's walk who will assist the marine biologists in informing and teaching attendees.

Anyone who is interested can contact Bowen Tourism on 4786 4222