Fleur's special gift to the Reef
Read our Q&A with Australian artist, Fleur Harris about her special activity pack created in collaboration with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The pack aims to inspire hearts and minds through the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.
What interest/connection do you have to the Great Barrier Reef?
I have fond memories of visiting Far North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef as a child, and have been out on the Reef a number of times over the years. As a child I was captivated by its magic and it’s had my heart ever since. My concern about it has grown as my knowledge about the threats it faces have broadened and I’ve learnt about the critical role oceans play in the health of our entire ecosystem.
How did you hear about the work of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation?
It’s just as important to be aware of the challenges the Reef faces as well as learn about what is being done to help it survive – so I follow the @GreatBarrierReefFoundation on social media. The efforts of the Foundation are very inspiring and encouraged me to contemplate how I might be able to use the skills that I have as an artist to help too.
Why did you choose to support the Great Barrier Reef Foundation with the creation of the Creative Pack?
I don’t have skills that obviously relate to reef conservation, such as those of an amazing marine biologist or scientist, but I believe we all have a responsibility to try to make the world a better place. With that in mind, I came up with an idea where I could use my skills as an artist to create eco-friendly craft projects that would be educational about the Reef and creatively inspiring. It has been especially fantastic to hear of primary schools using the Creative Projects pack in the classroom – the more conversations we can be having about the reef, especially with young people, the better!
Can you talk about how the Reef inspired the different activities within the pack?
Each different creative project was actually inspired by the work being done by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. For example the ‘Make your own Baby Green Turtle’ activity was inspired by the work the Foundation have done with the Raine Island Recovery Project. The COTS Control project inspired the creation of the ‘Make your own Sea Star Garland’ activity, so while children are making a beautiful decorative garland they are also learning about the impact of the Crown of Thorns Starfish on the Reef and are also introduced to some of the beautiful species of Sea Stars that inhabit the Reef.
What are your hopes for the future of the Great Barrier Reef?
I hope that it survives, and then thrives. The absolutely precious natural wonder is integral to our eco-system and it’s magnificence must be maintained. With organisations such as the Great Barrier Reef Foundation making such a positive impact on the Reef, I am instilled with hope for it’s future.