The 2021 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit united over 260 participants from 20 countries on Saturday, December 4, virtually connecting a global community of young ocean advocates and equipping attendees with the knowledge and resources needed to launch solutions-oriented ocean conservation projects. The Summit kicked-off with a keynote presentation by ocean advocate and waterwoman, Anupa Aoskan, who shared her stories and lessons learned from diverse experiences working at the intersection of science, policy, conservation, and community engagement. Summit attendees then had the opportunity to hear from their peers, with YOCS grant recipients highlighting the impact of their projects over the past year – ranging from plastic pollution prevention campaigns in South Florida to ocean literacy workshops for kids in the Philippines.
While our first time participants got to work planning out their own ocean conservation projects through our YOCS Action Planning workshop, our returning attendees explored opportunities to further their passion for the ocean through our Careers in Ocean Conservation panel. The remainder of the Summit equipped participants with tools and resources to bring their conservation project plans to life, with sessions on topics focused on art, policy/advocacy, leadership, story telling, plastic pollution and climate change, marine research, and creating business plans.
The Summit program is made possible with support from Mote Marine Laboratory, and while participants couldn’t visit Mote in person this year, Mote’s education team brought Mote Aquarium to attendees around the world through a special live education program with Mote’s resident manatees! The Summit wrapped up with a series of networking sessions, allowing attendees to meet fellow conservation leaders and organizations from around the world!
For the first time, this year’s Summit was followed by a YOCS Global Day of Ocean Action, which provided participants the opportunity to unite through a shared day of conservation actions starting in their local communities. From coastal cleanups to educational outreach beach days, the YOCS community took the inspiration from the Summit and turned it into immediate action.
We look forward to supporting the work of our YOCS community as they carry out their ocean conservation projects in the year ahead!
A special thank you to our YOCS participants, volunteers, presenters, sponsors, and partners for your support to make this program possible!