Each year we are honored to be able to support innovative youth-driven ocean conservation projects emerging from our Youth Ocean Conservation Summit event with mini-grants to help fund these initiatives! This year, thanks to support from Disney, the Johnson-Ohana Charitable Foundation, and funds raised from our 2014 Community Ocean Conservation Film Festival, we were able to fund twelve projects planned by students attending our Summit on November 8, 2014. This year’s grant recipients are:
Delaney Farrell will continue to teach students in elementary through high school about shark conservation through interactive outreach presentations as part of her Finformation program.
Derek, Landon, and Christian Petrisko will work to create a fundraiser to support marine conservation work by creating a calendar highlighting marine environments and organisms through compelling photos. They will also work to engage K-12 students in a mangrove re-planting initiative.
Through her Green Team Project, Paris Shewfelt will coordinate education programs focused on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and will engage tourists and community residents in coastal cleanup initiatives.
Monica Henry and Shelby Graziani will team up with the Florida Oceanographic Society to launch their Stash It and Trash It campaign with the goal of creating a beach ambassador program to increase marine debris awareness and inspire environmental stewardship. Through this project the will also coordinate community beach cleanups, school/community outreach presentations, and marine debris data collection.
Brooke Welch and her Ocean Preservers program will work to protect marine wildlife from fishing line entanglement by working to engage students in assembling and distributing 200 personal-sized fishing line recycling bins through the Stow It-Don’t Throw It Project.
Nicole Stevens will work with her fellow students at Berkeley Preparatory School to build a vertical garden at their school in order to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and sustainable gardening.
Destiny Treloar will launch the Reef Resurrection program to raise awareness through education about the issues faced in the oceans, particularly marine debris. To accomplish this they will collaborate with South Africa's Two Oceans Aquarium Young Biologist Program to organize cleanups within their community, and then turn the trash into art projects for the severity of the issues.
Elinor Rienzo will launch her Trash Stash program to create reusable, personal-sized trash bags that will allow individuals to store their trash so it doesn’t accidentally enter the environment. Her efforts will work to prevent the issue of marine debris at its source.
Keyla Correia will launch the Plastic Free Mermaids project by working with fellow students to highlight the dangers of plastics in the ocean through virtual presentations to classes and engage students in cleanup efforts. This project also plans to build a great white shark sculpture from marine debris collected.
Deja Golder and the National Aquarium’s Aquarium on Wheels program will launch the Drain Savers project to educate students in Baltimore, MD about water quality and mark storm drains in the city to help prevent runoff and trash from entering the surrounding water ways. They will also work to organize city cleanups to help address this issue.
Mikaela Groomes’ We-Cycle project will work to create a recycling program to prevent marine debris and provide places for disposal of fishing line near boat ramps and piers. She will also work to organize cleanup events and create educational outreach materials to teach students about marine debris prevention.
Congratulations to all recipients and a special thanks to you, and all of our Summit participants for your work to protect marine ecosystems! Additional grant awards will be announced shortly for participants who attended the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit at the Seattle Aquarium!