THE $10,000 EcoPorts grants program is now open for applications, being offered by North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation.

Schools within NQBP’s port communities of Mackay, Hay Point, Bowen and Weipa are invited to apply to receive a helping hand with their environmental projects.

NQBP chief Nicolas Fertin said ten $1,000 grants are available for sustainability projects aimed at promoting greater environmental awareness and delivering long-term benefits for the community.

“Our annual EcoPorts program is all about helping local students grow their knowledge and appreciation of the environment,” Mr Fertin said.

“We’re extremely proud to support grassroots projects that engage young people in our port communities and develop a sustainable environment.

“Each year, we enjoy seeing our EcoPorts grants at work, assisting a diverse range of sustainability projects, ranging from vegetable gardens to digital water monitoring technology and recycling bins,” he said.

The EcoPorts program has now been running for six years, which means $60,000 in funding has supported 60 local environmental school projects to date.

Mr Fertin said this year would also see the EcoPorts program enhanced with environmental school talks.

“Our Environment and Community teams will visit participating schools as part of a new ‘EcoTalks’ school visit series,” he said.

“The EcoTalks will provide school students an understanding of environmental management activities conducted at NQBP ports and establish a link between their respective school projects and our approach to sustainability.

“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we were unable to run our EcoPorts program last year, so we’re excited to bring it back again with some great enhancements this year.”

Applications for this year’s EcoPorts grants program close on 30 April 2021, with schools notified of the successful applicants in early May 2021.