Tuesday, January 17, 2012

10 Year Old Jett Neeley Brings the “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” Project to Pinellas County!

As part of his school community service work, 10 year old Jett Neeley helped bring the “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” Project to anglers and boaters in Pinellas County by assembling and distributing 50 personal-sized fishing line recycling bins during the months of November and December. After working with his family to collect empty tennis containers from local tennis clubs, Jett assembled the recycling bins and worked to distribute them at six local fishing piers/tackle shops, the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, and to individual anglers and boaters. He reported that the bins were well received by those who he passed them out to. A special thanks to Jett and his mother Jen for their work on this project!

Monday, January 16, 2012

2011 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit Empowers Young Conservationists!

Over 100 youth participants took part in our first Youth Ocean Conservation Summit hosted at Mote Marine Laboratory on November 12th 2011. Through the workshops and presentations at this event, youth participants were able to learn about current threats facing marine ecosystems, and gain the skills needed to launch their own ocean conservation projects. They were also
able to connect with other youth and adults who are passionate about ocean conservation.

After inspirational words by keynote speaker, SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Animal Ambassador, Julie Scardina, participants worked with mentors from local environmental organizations to identify ocean conservation issues they wished to work on and developed action plans to help tackle these problems.

Representatives from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, One More Generation, the Florida Aquarium, Brevard Zoo, Florida 4-H, Mote Marine Laboratory’s SeaTrek Program and Mote’s Marine Policy Institute, as well mentors from Mote’s Research and Education departments, worked together with local teachers and volunteers, to teach participants the steps needed to start, fund, publicize, and
communicate the message of their respective projects.

Projects which emerged from the work of the summit include planting projects to restore estuary areas in Sarasota Bay, school projects aimed at educating peers about important environmental issues, recycling projects, media presentations to raise awareness about ocean conservation
issues, as well as work to expand the efforts of the Stow It – Don’t Throw It project.

Work at the summit ended with a call to action video message featuring Dr. Eugenie Clark, Founder and Director Emeritus of Mote Marine Laboratory, Dr. Kumar Mahadevan, Mote’s
President and CEO, Dr. David Vaughan, Director of Mote’s Center for Coral Reef Research, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Ocean Futures Society President, Wyland, Artist of the Sea, Steve Culbertson, President and CEO of Youth Service America, Philippe Cousteau, CEO of EarthEcho International and Jordan Howard, youth environmental activist.

A special thanks to our sponsors, volunteers, presenters, and all of those who attended for helping make this event a success!

Check back soon for updates on the ocean conservation work of the students who attended this event!

Check out the following articles on this event:

Bradenton Herald - Mote Marine Hosts 100 Students at Youth Ocean Conservation Summit

Natural Awakenings - Students Tackle Threats to Marine Ecosystems

Youth Service America - Youth Summit Empowers Young Ocean Conservationists

Maddux News Wire Report - FL Youth Attend Ocean Conservation Summit

See the photos of the event below or visit the following link to see more pictures from the summit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/70005667@N02/

Summer Camp Participants assist with the “Stow it-Don’t Throw It” Project!

This past summer, more than 200 youth participating in summer camp programs at the Brevard Zoo, Lion Country Safari, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Cedar Point Environmental
Center assembled over 400 personal-sized fishing line recycling bins as a conservation project during their time at camp. Through their camping programs, these youth had the opportunity to learn about marine wildlife conservation and the importance of protecting marine wildlife from improperly disposed of monofilament fishing line. Participants were then able to keep a personal-sized fishing line recycling bin for their own use and/or distribute one to a friend or family
member and teach them the importance of fishing line recycling.

Summer camp staff reported that their campers increased their awareness of the importance of marine debris prevention after their involvement in this project, and also said that these campers were excited about the opportunity to take action to protect marine wildlife from fishing line entanglement through their participation in this project! A special thanks to the Brevard Zoo, Lion Country Safari, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and Cedar Point Environmental Center for their support of this project!
Cedar Point Environmental Center summer campers with their completed personal-sized fishing line recycling bins.
Lion Country Safari summer campers assembling personal-sized fishing line recycling bins.
Lion Country Safari summer campers show off their completed personal-sized fishing line recycling bins.