Preserving the Reef

Preserving the Reef

Queensland & Sydney

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Trip Themes

Sustainability, Global Warming, Marine Biology, Social Enterprise, Field Research, Eco-Tourism

Cities Visited

Australia: Sydney, Cairns, Brisbane

What will it take to keep the great barrier reef alive?

The Great Barrier Reef is a natural wonder. Off of Australia’s northeast coast, hundreds of miles of coral reefs are home to thousands of species of sea life, many unique to the locale. The reef plays a huge role in protecting and maintaining marine diversity as well as defending shorelines from flooding. As the climate changes and our oceans become warmer, parts of the Great Barrier Reef are dying off at an alarming rate.

Starting in Sydney, spending a few days at the Reef, and then basing ourselves in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, we will work to understand which biological/natural systems impact the reef and how the business and social impact strategies we employ can tackle some of these issues. By exploring the Great Barrier Reef and meeting with social innovators in the major Australian cities, our students will research the future of our oceans and businesses and find innovative ways on how the two might work together.

Possible Itinerary

Sydney, New South Whales

Our first stop will be in Sydney, a perfect introduction to Modern, Australia. Here we will get a taste for the country and meet with local Aussies as we begin to think about the unique situation this continent and country have. We will explore the city by foot, ferry and train, even climbing up the Sydney Harbor Bridge, which offers an amazing view of the city skyline and harbor. We’ll also take a cliffside walk to Bondi beach - a cultural hub for restaurants, cafes, musical performances and of course, a breath-taking beach. 

Tropical North Queensland

From Melbourne, the group will fly north to tropical Queensland. We will base ourselves in the beach town of Cairns, our jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef. In Cairns we will try to understand the connections between the Great Barrier Reef and the local economy which will serve as the basis for our research into reef preservation. We’ll have the unique opportunity to go snorkeling with professional guides to see the reef’s ecosystem first-hand, giving depth to the need for reef preservation. Students will take a trip on the Skyrail for a behind-the-scene look into ecotourism and an expedition into the rainforest. Students are encouraged to keep a journal with notes and observations that will serve as a helpful supplement when designing the group project. We’ll also spend a day exploring the city to further immerse ourselves in Australian culture. 

Brisbane, Queensland

In Queensland, We will set up camp in a local co-working space to flesh out our ideas and begin to brainstorm for our projects based on everything that we learned from the time spent in Sydney and Cairns. Using design thinking and notes from our experiences and research, students will collaborate to create their project for reef preservation. We will take some time to explore the amazing coastline of Australia and end our trip with a visit to the amazing beach islands just North of the city.



This trip can be adapted to have a stronger focus in social enterprise, environmental conservation, wildlife, or to add additional stops as well.