The Virginia Chadwick Memorial Foundation

During her time as Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (1999- 2007) Virginia Chadwick did much to ensure the long term protection and sustainable use of Australia's Great Barrier Reef - the world's largest coral reef system.

As an educator Virginia was a passionate advocate for sharing the knowledge and experience of lessons learnt with the rest of the world and building networks of people to support each other in their efforts to conserve and manage coral reef ecosystems.
Virginia believed in the practical application of available knowledge and expertise to deal with environmental harm rather than waiting for perfect solutions. 

Coral reefs and their associated ecosystems are biologically diverse and productive. Areas like the Great Barrier Reef are special places in their own right because of their natural beauty and the wonder they inspire. Moreover, the Great Barrier Reef contributes significantly to the economic and social well being of Australia mostly by supporting major tourism and recreational activities worth billions of dollars and employing many thousands.

Recognising these interests, she believed that strong partnerships with traditional owners, communities and reef industries were critical to conserving and managing the Reef.

In many places around the world coral reefs play a fundamental role in providing for food security and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people. From the highly diverse reefs of the Coral Triangle to Australia's north in the Asia Pacific Region to the dispersed reefs of the Caribbean and in many seas in between, these complex assemblages provide food, protection and income for people and communities in over 100 countries.
However like the world's rainforests these important areas are under threat and in many cases in steep decline. Shore based pollution; overfishing and destructive fishing practices, poorly managed tourism and climate change are all contributing to an increasing inability of these areas to sustain life. Close to a third of the world's reefs have already been lost and it is estimated that 60% may be gone by 2060.

The Virginia Chadwick Memorial Foundation was established to carry on Virginia Chadwick's work and build on her achievements especially in regard to the Great Barrier Reef and through education, networking and knowledge sharing around the world.

As a non-profit organisation, the Foundation raises funds and harness resources to promote the conservation and sustainable management of coral reefs and their associated ecosystems by supporting the development of skills, sharing of lessons learned and encouraging effective advocacy.