Accolades for our Reef Education team

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Outreach Reef Education programs have received yet another Pinnacle Award for  “Programs of Distinction” that have engaged learners across the globe.

Winning the Pinnacle Award has been described as “An honourable feat” by Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) Executive Director, Glenn Morris who announced the winners of the 2019-2020 awards in early August.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Outreach Reef Education programs delivered from Reef HQ Aquarium, Australia’s National Education Centre for the Reef have brought the Great Barrier Reef to those who may have never had the chance to see it before, through innovative videoconferencing technology.

Since its establishment over 20 years ago, educators have connected with students of all ages in over 805 locations (390 international locations across 19 countries, and to 415 locations within Australia).

Many educators have participated in programs year after year and share this experience with a new group of learners.

Fred Nucifora the Director of Reef Education and Stewardship at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said the Reef Education team was very proud to receive the  award as it recognises “programs demonstrating remarkable quality of educational content and exceptional skill at program delivery”.

Praise for the program was also expressed by CILC members with one member describing the program as superior. “The vocabulary and content were age appropriate. The activities were fun and engaging. The information that was provided to us before was helpful so that we could have everything set up. The presenter was able to answer a lingering question that our class had not found an answer to." (Elementary School Teacher).

The Reef Education team have also been recipients of the award previously in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 (Honourable mention), 2018, and 2019. The award is voted by teachers from across the USA.

This year the Reef Education team were also recognised in the inaugural CILC (Centre for Interactive Learning and Collaboration USA) Hall of Fame for having received a Pinnacle Award or an Honorable Mention for at least 10 years.

The Hall of Fame awards in a new initiative of the CILC. There are fifteen organisations that have been recognised with the Hall of Fame Award (including us) and we are the only organisation from Australia.


This award further exemplifies the increase in engagement that can be achieved through digital platforms.

In partnership with researcher Prue Francis from Deakin University, the Reef Education team have had a paper published in the Journal of STEM Outreach

The paper explores over ten years of participant trends for the Reef Videoconferencing program to assess whether the program is a mechanism for increasing community educational outreach. Since 2005, the program connected an additional 83,388 participants from 19 countries, increasing the Aquarium’s community and educational outreach by 4.8%. You can read the full paper by clicking the link here: https://bit.ly/3g2lRlC

Special mention and congratulations to Reef Education team members, and co-authors, Julie Spencer and Craig McGrogan.


Click here for more information on this multiple award-winning Virtual Connections program.