Science and Technology

Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre

Phone 4032 6650 or contact via email

Interpretative Screens

A great resource for students, featuring information on Aboriginal plant use, the evolution of the plant kingdom and birds of the Botanic Gardens.

Interpretive touch screens

A great resource for students, featuring information on Aboriginal plant use, the evolution of the plant kingdom and birds of the Botanic Gardens.

Guided walks

The Friends of the Botanic Gardens conduct FREE guided tours of Flecker Gardens starting 10am Monday to Friday, most weeks of the year.

Tours generally take 60-90 minutes and showcase key areas of the Gardens including the Conservatory and Aboriginal Plant Use section.  These tours are designed for casual visitors to the Gardens.

To join a tour, simply meet up with the guide outside the Friends House (no bookings required).

The Friends of the Botanic Gardens

Phone 4032 3900 or contact via email

The Friends of the Botanic gardens are actively involved in raising funds and awareness of the Cairns Botanic Gardens. The group runs free, guided tours of Flecker Gardens from 10:00am each weekday. Tours generally take an hour. If you want to join a tour, simply meet up with your guide outside the Friends House.

Private guided walks for groups can be arranged by the Friends of the Botanic Gardens. Bookings are essential and charges may apply.

Note: Bookings are essential and charges may apply. If you would like more information about volunteering at the Cairns Botanic Gardens, please call or email during business hours or visit their website.

Little Taccas

Phone 4032 6650 or contact via email

The Little Taccas program, named after the tropical plant Tacca integrin folia, provides young children an appreciation for nature and gardening. Aimed at children aged under five years, the fortnightly program features nature-based activities in the Cairns Botanic Gardens precinct, including art and craft, storytelling, sing-alongs and garden discovery walks.

The program is held fortnightly on Thursdays from 10:00am to noon. Children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver.


Green Space Our Place

Phone 4032 6648 or contact the Volunteers Supervisor Louisa Grandy

Green Space Our Place is a volunteer program that encourages residents to get involved in enhancing and maintaining public spaces. The goal is to build collaborative partnerships between Council and Cairns community while providing opportunities for residents to engage in rewarding and healthy activities.

Contact Council to find out about the types of activities that may be suitable for your school and the process of becoming a registered volunteer in the Green Space Our Place program

Newsletter – Volunteers Voice

Volunteers Voice is a quarterly newsletter showcasing the valued work of volunteers. If you are a volunteer gardener, a dedicated part of the Cattana Wetlands team or would like to contribute work to beautify your local community or want to, this newsletter is for you.

Cairns Libraries

S.T.E.A.M. and Robotics & Coding

With the growing global trend in the STEAM field, there is an increasing interest in developing technology. Cairns Libraries provides a range programs and events for young people with a focus on collaboration, exploration, creativity and informal learning.

Our activities are often delivered during the school term and school holidays, they may include; robotic and coding workshops, STEAM events and after-school programs.

Visit the Cairns Libraries website for upcoming STEAM events and activities.

Online resources

Membership of Cairns Libraries offers you much more than what’s on the shelf - you also have free access to many premium online subscription-only resources too!

Visit the Cairns Libraries website to find out more.


Busythings is a collection of online learning resources for children aged 3 years and older. It features fun activities and games which target core maths, literacy and phonics skills and stimulate creative work with colours, shapes and sounds.

Log in using your Cairns Libraries membership for access to hundreds of games and activities.

10 Monkeys

10 Monkeys is an online math learning tool to help 6-10 year old kids learn basic mathematical skills in a fun game-like environment. Features logical progression and easy navigation, four easily adjustable skill levels, fun jungle, beach, safari and space themes.

  Rainforest Coding is an interactive adventure game for children from 5 years old. Students can learn the programming language ‘Scratch’ as they explore the Crystal Rainforest. A fun activity with lots of robots and extra activity pages under the resources section. Your Cairns Libraries membership opens the door to exciting adventures, interactive tutorials and fun scratch puzzles and games. Makes learning Scratch programming easier and great fun for all!

Cairns Minecraft Servers

Calling all Minecraft players in Far North Queensland

Join over 400 local Minecraft players in workshops, creative projects and region wide building competitions. With two family friendly servers, Cairns Minecraft has something for everyone. From vanilla survival to building Cairns city to scale, players get to create, compete and socialise in a supportive community environment.

To find out more and to join in visit the website:

Regional Architectural Building Competition

Summer break 2020/21

Compete with players from across the region as we find Far North Queensland’s top Minecraft architects.

If you live in the Cairns Regional Council, Mareeba Shire, Tablelands Regional Council, Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Douglas Shire or Etheridge Shire local government areas you can enter.

Players of any age can enter for free to be in the running for a share of $1,500 worth of prizes.

The focus of the competition is to create a house using Cairns Regional Council’s Cool Homes: smart design for the tropics and Cairns Style Guide.

For full terms and conditions go to

Cairns Minecraft is part of the Flame.Arts program; a capacity building program delivered by Cairns Regional Council with a focus on creating pathways for emerging creatives, providing mentorships, skills and career development opportunities.

Cattana Wetlands

Phone 4032 6648 or 0429 983 252 (Botanic Gardens Volunteer and Public Relations Officer)

The Cattana Wetlands is around 80 hectares of formerly degraded land which Council has rehabilitated into a nature conservation park. Cattana Wetlands volunteer program Jabirus meet at Cattana each Tuesday from 9am until noon and are involved in the general maintenance of the wetlands such as weeding, planting, and re-vegetation. This provides a great chance for schools to get involved in projects that benefit the local environment. Please note that dogs are prohibited at Cattana Wetlands.

Jabirus provide a great chance for schools to get involved in projects that benefit the local environment.

Cattana - Panoramic

Natural disasters

Council has created a suite of education resources focused on the natural hazards that can impact the Cairns region.

The materials include classroom activities, experiments, background information and lesson plans aligned to the Australian Curriculum.

Council's Disaster Management team staff can visit your school to discuss natural hazards either as one-on-one sessions with teachers or classroom discussions. School excursions to the Local Disaster Coordination Centre are also possible. Please contact the Disaster Management Unit on 1300 69 22 47 or by email to

Sustainability Education

Phone 4044 3253 or contact via email

Would you like to make your school more sustainable? Are you looking for exciting and practical ideas to incorporate sustainability into your school program?  See below for information on how Council supports schools to implement sustainability education programs and initiatives, or visit our Sustainability web pages for more.

Sustainability is a cross-curriculum priority in the Australian Curriculum which includes,

  • understanding the ways social, economic and environmental systems interact to support and maintain human life
  • appreciating and respecting the diversity of views and values that influence sustainable development
  • participating critically and acting creatively in determining more sustainable ways of living.



To borrow, order or find out more, contact

  • Solar Tool Kit: Schools can borrow this portable solar panel briefcase to help students learn about renewable energy. The kit features a fan, radio, fluorescent lamp, buzzer and energy monitor.
  • Reef Stencils: Made from old street signs, these can be used for chalk art or reverse graffiti (pressure cleaning) to encourage responsible litter disposal. The stencils include messages such as ‘bin your butts’ and ‘only rain down this drain’. The stencils help badge your school drains and gutters with turtle and fish stencils to create a visual connection between the land and the sea.
  • Cool Homes Guide: Assists students to learn about tropical building design principles, crucial for emerging builders and architects in the region. The Guide may also assist students entering the Tropical Architecture Awards facilitated by the Business Liaison Association.

School Programs and Networks

  • Reef Guardian Schools: This Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority program fosters awareness, understanding and appreciation for the Reef and its connected ecosystems. It helps connect students with community projects and has a suite of resources available.
  • Australian Association for Environmental Education: Australia's peak professional body for Environmental Educators, with resources, professional development and networking opportunities available.
  • Sustainable Schools Network: Provides opportunities for networking between students, business managers and teachers to embed sustainability in schools.

Key Resources


Clean Ups

A community Clean Up is a great way to bring your community together for a cause that boosts community pride and creates a litter-free environment.


There are three types of Clean Ups that Council supports:

Great Northern Clean Up

Held every September, the Great Northern Clean Up is timed just before the wet season to reduce the risk of litter entering our marine environment. Council coordinates sites across Cairns, and schools, businesses or community groups are also encouraged to register additional events.

Clean Up Australia Day

This national event is held in March, visit the Clean Up Australia Day website for details.

Everyday Clean Ups

Can't wait for one of the annual Clean Ups? You can hold a community Clean Up any time of year, just register your site with Clean Up Australia and contact Council two weeks ahead of the event for support.

To access support, simply:

Marine Debris Groups

Join these passionate local organisations reducing marine debris through art, education and clean ups in some of the region's more hard to reach, beautiful environments.

Litter data can be entered into the Australian Marine Debris Database at anytime, supporting improved litter management. To learn more about the impacts of litter on the marine environment, head to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park website.

Tanks Arts Centre

School tours and workshops

Take your students on a free, guided tour of the Tanks Arts Centre – and let us tailor this to suit your specific age group needs and curriculum objectives, with topics covered including:

  • History - exploring the role the Tanks played in WWII and how the oil storage facility was used
  • Visual Art - with a curator’s talk about a current exhibition
  • Venue Management - with a behind-the-scenes tour of a multi-arts centre
  • Architecture - with a talk about the design challenges and solutions for the Tanks Arts Centre and/or the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre

Tours include up to half an hour with a Tanks Arts Centre staff member plus self-guided inspection of the current exhibition and site.

School visits are welcome any time during opening hours, but guided tours must be booked.

TO BOOK A TOUR: or phone 4032 6600

Energy exhibition

Energy is a must-see exhibition held in September each year, showcasing visual art produced by school students across the Cairns region. Energy presents the best young and emerging artists of the Cairns region with a level of professionalism and maturity well beyond their years.  There is the opportunity for featuring pieces to be submitted to the Creative Generations Awards.

For more information on program dates and timing, please visit

National Science Week

National Science Week is an Australian Government initiative held in August each year. The Tanks Arts Centre, together with industry partners, hosts a number of science events focused on science education and sustainability issues unique to Far North Queensland.

For more information on how your school can be involved in National Science Week events, including school grant support, visit

Waste education

Waste Education Program:

Cairns Regional Council's Waste Education Program provides a number of different services to help Cairns schools and community groups reduce, reuse their waste and recycle right. These include presentations for students, teachers and community groups, free Waste & Resource Recovery facility tours (via the Rediscovery Centre) and free school recycling services.

Schools & Early Learning Centres can play an important role in rethinking what we do with our waste by encouraging children to become instruments of change at kindy, school, at home and when they are out in the community.

Our Waste Education Officer engages with the community through a range of events, programs and partnerships to influence positive waste and recycling behaviours.

Free programs and services are provided to schools to better educate our younger generation in waste and recycling, which seeks to encourage them to make sustainable choices well into the future.

Waste Education School Resources (provided free of cost for Cairns Regional Schools):

  • 240 Litre wheelie bin recycling service
  • Waste & resource recovery tours of Council facilities
  • Waste & resource recovery presentations (in-school)
  • Waste education resources

Further information about school recycling services:

Council offers free recycling service to all schools within the Cairns region.The allocation of recycling bins is been based on the number of students per school, serviced during the school terms. If your school does not have recycling, please contact  Customer Service on 1300 69 22 47 or email the waste services team:

Waste Education Tours

Have you ever wondered what happens to waste and recycling in Cairns?

Cairns Regional Council also offers schools and community groups guided tours of its Waste & Resource Recovery facilities including the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), Advanced Resource Recovery Facility (ARRF) and the CRC Buy Back Shop. Along the way, participants will get a behind the scenes look at each step of the recycling sorting process, from the receival of recyclables into the MRF, right through to the baling of products ready to be transported to market. Our facilities boast a dedicated education room called the “Rediscovery Centre” which offers an air-conditioned, safe, birds-eye view of the MRF processing plant as well as high quality cameras located inside the machinery allowing visitors to see up-close how everything works.

School waste and resource recovery presentation. School Waste and Resource Recovery Tour.

Waste Education Presentations

Unable to visit our facilities? Council's Waste Education Officer can also visit your School, Early Learning Centre or community group event to present an age/year level appropriate presentation covering what happens to waste in the region.  The interactive, engaging presentations covers the Cairns 'Waste Story', how we can all reduce, reuse and recycle better and provide answers to those difficult to answer waste and recycling questions.

Community Waste & Resource Recovery Presentation. Early Learning Centre Waste and Resource Recovery Presentation.

To book a free tour or presentation please send a completed waste education booking request ( PDF, 2.1 MB ) to For further information please contact Customer Service on 1300 69 22 47.

Education Resources

To add value to your school's Waste Education program, check out our Resources below including our Waste Activity Sheets in the 'For Download' section:


  • Our Region's waste / recycling story, a 5 minute educational video for schools and community members on what happens to waste & recycling once collected in the Cairns region. You can also download Council's 'Where does it all go' flyer for a summary of this video.
  • Recycling your waste around the house, how and why to reduce waste in your wheelie bins.
  • Reuse to reduce waste, re-using things is great way to reduce our waste. See how and why to reuse your items instead of throwing them away.

External Content:

  • Planet Ark has multiple education resources for teachers and students available
  • ABC Television's War on Waste program website has 25 education resources to assist students with Reducing, Reusing and Recycling their waste better
  • Cool Australia has a series of curriculum aligned lesson plans and resources for educators on waste reduction and greater sustainability
  • The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard has original and sequel videos to get you thinking about the real cost of consumerism. Fast-paced and engaging for primary age upwards.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a man-made phenomenon, largely made up discarded plastics. We recommend viewing for ages six and up due to its stark visual impact, and that the video clip be supported by discussions with students about what they can do to make a positive environmental difference


Our educational services aim to reinforce Council's philosophy that 'there's no place like our place - let's keep it that way'.

Water Education

Inspire  -  Engage  -  Educate

Cairns Regional Council offers FREE education programs and resources to all schools and educational centres in the Cairns region.

In school water education program

In-school water education program for Prep to Year 12: smarter with our water Read more

Water activities for under 5s

Engaging water education activities for under 5s for kindy programs, early learning centres and at home learning Read more

STEAM water activities

Easy-to-manage projects all about water, to encourage critical thinking skills and scientific processes while having fun! Read more

Educational tools

Fun online learning tools to encourage individuals and schools to access and understand the live data from the gauging station. Read more

Smart Catchments educational tools

Council is committed to ensuring that water run-off from river catchments in the region does not negatively impact the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

With funding support from the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs program we are leading the Smart Catchments: Saltwater Creek pilot study in partnership with James Cook University, the Wet Tropics Healthy Waterways Partnership and Itron Australasia. This study is testing new technology to deliver water quality data in real-time and in-turn inform better water management processes.

Read more about the Smart Catchments project.

Take Mobi's Catchment Challenge

The Smart Catchments pilot study has worked with school students, educators and community members in the catchment to develop online activities for individuals and schools to understand the live data that is generated through the project's smart technology.

We encourage you to take 'Mobi's Catchment Challenge' and let us know what you think.

Mobi's Catchment challenge is also available to play on iPads through the iOS App Store

The Caring for Your Catchment Unit is divided into the following lessons and accompanied by a student workbook (coming soon) to compliment the lessons.

Supported browsers

To get the best experience using Mobi's Catchment Challenge (online activities 1-3 below), please use only Chrome or Firefox. Other browsers are not supported.

Activity 1: Caring for Saltwater Creek

A small blue hut has recently appeared by the footbridge over Saltwater Creek. It’s a Gauging Station that receives live data from sensors in the creek and is helping Council monitor water quality in the catchment; which will ensure urban stormwater run-off doesn’t impact on the health of the Great Barrier Reef. In this activity, join Mobi, a resident Saltwater Creek mudskipper to explore what the sensors are monitoring and understand how human activity across the catchment can impact on the health of the creek and the reef. (NOTE: please use Chrome or Firefox only; other browsers are not supported.)

Activity 2: Clean the creek - and have some fun!

Litter is not only a major contributor to visual pollution of creeks and rivers but clogs waterways and causes toxicity as it breaks down and can cause harm to local wildlife. If you see litter, pick it up – and encourage others not to drop it. In this activity you need to be quick and help the Council worker fish out the litter coming down the creek before it’s washed out to the ocean; and then dispose of it correctly. Look out for illegal dumpers! (NOTE: please use Chrome or Firefox only; other browsers are not supported.)

Activity 3: Your Lily Creek Catchment Management Plan

Lily Creek is a sub-catchment of Saltwater Creek. This activity is your opportunity to transform an area of land close to the creek and the city that will not only benefit the Cairns community but the Great Barrier Reef. But before you can submit your Lily Creek Catchment Management Plan for approval, you need to make all your stakeholders smile! (NOTE: please use Chrome or Firefox only; other browsers are not supported.)
Last updated: 16 June 2020