Great Barrier Reef Legacy receive surprise $50k donation


Victoria Stone-Meadows


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ECSTATIC: Dr Dean Miller of the Great Barrier Reef Legacy absolutely thrilled by the donation from Karmagawa. Image: Victoria Stone-Meadows.
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A Port Douglas-based reef research and education charity have been surprised with a generous donation along with a starring role in an upcoming nature documentary.

American philanthropic organisation, Karmagawa – a portmanteau of Karma and to do or make in the Tagalog language of the Philippines – gifted the money to Great Barrier Reef Legacy late last week.

The $50,000 donation will allow GBRL to purchase a research vessel of their own to monitor the health of the reef and undertake restoration projects locally.

Dr Dean Miller from GBRL said they knew Karmagawa were aiming to support reef research but the GBRL team didn’t know what form that would take.

“They always came with the intention of supporting us in any way they could but we didn’t know it would be financial,” he said. 

“To be financially recognised is incredible - if we have a boat of our own we can do so much more for our local reefs and it gives us a greater capacity to amplify our research, education, and engagement.” 

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A camera crew from Karmagawa had been following the team from GRBL for about a week for a documentary that will be released in June this year.

The documentary focuses on the challenges facing reefs around the world with a focus on the Great Barrier Reef and the works being undertaken to study and protect it.

The documentary will be released exclusively online via social media on 8 June, which Dr Miller says is an exciting way to reach new audiences with messages about the reef and the challenges it faces.

“What this allows us to do is to reach an audience we have been unable to tap into before,” he said.

“The social media influencer audiences across platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Snpachat, and so on have been out of our reach before.

“The people that came out on the boat with us have a combined social media reach of about 15 to 20 million people a day; to put that in perspective it would be lucky to get several million people to see the newest David Attenborough doco.

“This is the new way the world works and we are excited to have that attention focused on us.”

Dr Miller said while he hopes this new documentary reaches as many people as possible and global attitudes towards reef management begin to change, he is looking forward to the prospect of carrying on work on the Great Barrier Reef.

GBRL will still have access to the vessel owned by their major sponsor, Northern Escape Collection, for research projects on the reef but Dr Miller is urging other local businesses to support the cause.

“Together there are no barriers too great to save our reefs and this is a prime example of an international organisation looking at Port Douglas as an epicentre of best practice and community-led projects where we can all be involved and we can all give something back to our reefs,” he said.

Following the donation from Karmagawa, GBRL is hoping to launch their new localised research and restoration vessel by the end of the year. 


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