Sea Country Guardians Project

Sea COuntry Guardians

The Sea Country Guardians Program aims to foster stewardship and a community culture of custodianship for Great Barrier Reef protection in Indigenous communities, particularly amongst young people. By using cultural knowledge linked to environmental knowledge, the Sea Country Guardians Program will help children care for the reef and connected ecosystems through creative activities. The program will be led by communities to develop future community leaders and managers for their sea country and the Great Barrier Reef.


Materials available on this site.


This project is hosted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.  Digital Learning Futures was contracted to design the project, consult with communities and develop activities which meet the needs of Indigenous communities in Wujal Wujal, Cooktown, Hopevale, Lockhart River and Palm Island/Yarrabah. This website contains extracts from the diary of the project, project files and reports. See the Sea Country Guardians menu for details. Some sample materials have been shared on this web site. The samples provided were formatted by DLF. GBRMPA redeveloped the materials into a different published format for their purposes.


In a nutshell

Sea Country Guardians Project is a major initiative of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority under the Caring for Country initiatives. Digital learning Futures have been contracted to lead the first phase of this project.

DLF gathered information from traditional owners and young people about how children can care for sea country with their elders, as a learning strategy. The project also assisted Indigenous leaders to design learning activities to undertake with children.

Project goals

The Sea Country Guardians Education Project uses traditional knowledge and a variety of learning techniques to help children learn about sea country, value it, care for it and take responsibility for it.

The project enables the Indigenous community to take a leading role in defining what will be learned, how it will be learned and who will help children learn. The community will need to own the teaching-learning process for the project to be sustainable.

The Sea Country Guardians Education Project aspires to

  • ·         generate and inform the future community leaders and guardians of sea country
  • ·         engage young people with what they want to take responsibility for and what they will do
  • ·         access and use traditional knowledge to help children learn and accept Sea Country Guardian responsibilities
  • ·         create a self-sustaining community-centred culture of Sea Country learning with support from schools
  • ·         complement other capacity development and training programs in a community
  • ·         foster stewardship and precipitate a community culture of young people caring for sea country
  • ·         become embedded into the way of thinking and actions in communities over time and thus be sustainable as a long term program

Project Outcomes

Develop a Project Plan for a Sea Country Guardians Education Program that builds on the successful Reef Guardian Schools program by fostering stewardship and a community culture of custodianship for reef protection in Indigenous communities.

Engage with five communities

·         Palm Island/Yarrabah

·         Cooktown

·         Lockhart River

·         Hopevale

·         Bloomfield.

 Develop a Sea Country Guardians Education Program with each of the five communities to engage and educate children to understand and appreciate the Reef and connected ecosystems. A 'tool kit' is to be developed with each community including a suite of actions and activities tailored to the community as appropriate and including a stakeholder list.

Develop 5 (or more) individual community learning units or actions which can be adapted for use in all of the communities based on community and GBRMPA identified Sea Country themes and messages as agreed to by the Steering Committee. The units must be suitable for newcomers to implement, teachers and others without deep science knowledge to understand, and include relevant contacts in the community and contain necessary resources. Community Learning units may include, but are not limited to, messages associated with:

·         Connection to Sea Country

·         The Great Barrier Reef – managing a diverse ecosystem

·         Catchments and water quality

·         Waste Management

·         Climate Change

·         Threatened species management especially Turtle and Dugong.


On this web site

This web site was used as a communication tool during the project for participants and stakeholders interested in the program.

Some resources from workshops and results of consultations are shared here.

Some pre-published materials are shared here.

For information and access to materials, contact Michelle and Paul at


Materials available on this site.