Friday, February 12, 2016

2015 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit mini-grant recipients announced!

Each year, students attending our Youth Ocean Conservation Summits create action plans to tackle marine conservation issues in their local community. Over the past four years, we’ve been honored to support these projects by providing mini-grants to help jump start and sustain these youth-driven ocean conservation campaigns. After our 5th anniversary Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, we’re excited to announce a record number of mini-grants have been awarded to our participants. These Youth Ocean Conservation Team mini-grants were made possible with generous support from the Nature Conservancy’s Gulf of Mexico Program, the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Klean Kanteen, From the Bow Seat and funds raised from our 2015 Community Ocean Conservation Film Festival. Read on to learn more about the outstanding projects being led by our grant recipients:

Keyla Correia and the Plastic Free Mermaids will expand their plastic pollution efforts by installing a water bottle refill attachment to their school’s water fountain, and educating their student body on the importance of reducing single use plastics.

Landon Petrisko will work with his peers and Florida International University to raise and plant red mangroves to restore coastal habitat in south Florida.

Alex Gregory will launch his S.S. Shrimp project to raise awareness among consumers about the impact of shrimp bycatch, encouraging them to make sustainable seafood purchases.

The National Aquarium’s Aquarium on Wheels program will host their third annual satellite Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, training students in Baltimore, MD.

Ethan Mengelt’s roadside cleanup program will engage community members in organized cleanups along roadways in North Port, FL and Wisconsin.

Cameron Rogister’s Wilson & Wake County Recycling Project will engage young people in implementing and leading recycling programs at Forest Hills Middle School in Wilson, NC and the Boys & Girls Club in Raleigh, NC.

Morgan Shirley will launch the River Guardians Afterschool Water Monitoring Project to engage Boys and Girls club members in Greenville, NC in weekly water quality monitoring activities, and educating their community about the importance of clean water.

Through her Sarasota Ocean Preservers program, Brooke Welch will engage students in underwater snorkel cleanups, removing marine debris from underwater environments off the beaches of Sarasota, FL.

Christian Petrisko will launch a program to utilize photography to capture images of endangered marine species and those not frequently photographed. He will use these photos to raise awareness for the conservation of these animals, and sell prints at local events to raise funds for conservation efforts.

Delaney Farrell will expand her outreach efforts through her Finformation program, educating students ages 6-18 about shark conservation through interactive activities and presentations at schools and community events.

Student leaders from the Big Blue and You will launch T4T: Transformation 4 Turtles, will work educate students in south Florida about marine debris prevention, engage young people in beach cleanups, and turn the trash they find into an art sculpture to display in their community.

Jacob Mohen will work to educate members of his community about the impacts of plastic pollution on wildlife, and provide them with alternatives to single use plastic products.

Students in Brevard Zoo’s teen program will coordinate their annual Youth Environmental Summit which gives youth the tools and knowledge to become involved with local conservation projects.

Samantha Andrews will launch her Pop It, Don’t Drop It project, which will utilize a variety of outreach tools to educate community members about the dangers of releasing helium balloons.

Benjamin Sachs will work with his local Boy Scout Troop to engage in ongoing water quality/pH monitoring efforts in Broward County to gain a better understanding of the impact of pollutants on south Florida aquatic ecosystems.

Ryan Moralevitz will work with his classmates on his Fishes Wishes Mangrove Nursery Project, which will engage students in growing mangroves in a vertical garden at their school, and ultimately planting mangroves back in the marine environment.

Adam Sachs, Katelyn Higgins, and Elinor Rienzo will also receive grants of materials for Stow It-Don’t Throw It personal-sized fishing line recycling bins to engage anglers and boaters in their community in protecting marine wildlife from fishing line entanglement.
In addition to the students receiving grants after participating in our Youth Ocean Conservation Summit in Sarasota, FL on November 14 in Sarasota, FL we’re also excited to award 3 grants to students who attended our first satellite Youth Ocean Conservation Summit in Long Island, NY on November 21 hosted by Coastal Steward Inc. and New York Sea Grant:

Students at LeRoy Jr/Sr High School in LeRoy, NY will launch their Safe Disposal Program to help their local government implement a safe pharmaceutical collection program. They will also provide information to the public about the correct disposal of pharmaceuticals by creating an interactive model and brochures.

Sarah Whelan will launch YOU: Youth and Oysters United to educate young people in her community about water quality and engage them in oyster restoration projects.

The Environmental Outreach Club at Mount Sanai High School will educate the student body about the importance of reducing plastics, and implement efforts to encourage the use of reusable water bottles, while working to install water bottle refill stations on campus.

Congratulations to these young people, and all of our Youth Ocean Conservation Summit participants for their outstanding ocean conservation work. Stay tuned for more updates on these projects!

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