When Julian Perros learnt in school about the devastation the Crown of Thorns Starfish (COTS) is causing on the Great Barrier Reef, he knew he wanted to help.
"He came home and explained what he'd learnt and asked us if we could tell him more about it," explains Julian's dad Andrew.
"We decided to take him and his younger brother on a trip to the Australian Museum. Julian found what he was looking for and learnt about the Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS). We watched a video about the divers injecting the COTS and Julian was impressed. He said 'I wish that I was older so that I could go there and help too. Why can't I grow older faster?'
"I explained to Julian that he could help and that I was sure that LIRS would accept donations that would go towards the effort to reduce COTS number. When we returned home, he cracked open his money box and asked how we could send it over. His younger brother (not quite knowing was what going on) opened his money box and did the same," Andrew said.
And so began Julian's fundraising journey. Though family, friends, his school and local clubs, Julian spread the message about the COTS and managed to raise an incredible $620, which he presented to Lizard Island Research Station Director Dr Anne Hoggett and her marine scientist son Dr Alexander Vail at a talk at the Australian Museum on 2 May. An amazing effort!
We caught up with Julian after the presentation for a quick Q&A.
When did you first know you wanted to help save the Great Barrier Reef?
It was a few weeks ago when my teacher told us about the Crown of Thorns starfish.
Why is it so important, do you think?
The coral is dying and the fish will have nowhere to live.
What was the best thing about your experience so far?
When I met the scientists.
How much money did you raise to help fight the COT starfish?
$620 and my school is going to help me collect more money.
Do you have any advice for other kids who want to make a difference, like you have?
You can still help, even if you are just a kid.
What’s next for you? Any other projects you want to work on?
I would like to do more projects to save the Great Barrier Reef.
Anything else you’d like to say about our journey?
One day I am going to be a scientist like Alex.