Each year, our Youth Ocean Conservation Summit serves as a hub connecting young conservation leaders from across the country and empowering them to work alongside their peers to protect our planet’s marine ecosystems. We are honored to be able to work with incredible partners to support the conservation initiatives planned by these young people through our mini-grant program, which funds and provides year round support to Summit attendees.
We are excited to announce that this year, we are providing a record 25 mini-grants to conservation projects planned by our 2016 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit attendees. This funding provides critical support to young conservation leaders working at the front lines of the movement to protect our blue planet – with projects ranging from research studies on threatened marine mammals and restoration of key marine habitats to efforts to prevent plastic pollution at its source and to socially responsible start-up business working to raise funds for wildlife conservation efforts.
This year’s mini-grants are generously supported by the Captain Planet Foundation, the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Klean Kanteen, Jennifer Gray, and our 2016 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit silent auction donors and participants. A special thanks to these organizations and individuals for their commitment to empowering young conservation leaders!
Let’s meet our mini-grant recipients!
Mairead S.’ Manatees of Boca Grande initiative will allow her to expand her work conducting photo analysis and observational studies on manatees in the Boca Grande Estuary in partnership with Florida Fish and Wildlife Service.
Trashawn B. and Nora A. will lead the 2017 Baltimore Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, working with their peers in the National Aquarium’s Aquarium on Wheels program to train students in their city how to protect marine ecosystems.
Landon P.’s No Mangrove=No Man project will engage young people in raising and planting 3,000 red mangroves on both coasts of Florida to restore critical estuary habitat.
Brooke W. will expand her Sarasota Ocean Preservers program to increase its capacity to engage new students in field excursions to learn about Sarasota’s marine environment and participate in underwater coastal cleanup efforts.
Delaney F. will grow her Finformation program in order to reach new audiences of young people through school presentations, science festivals, and outreach activities to teach them about the important role sharks play in marine ecosystems.
Through Christian’s Photography Project, Christian P. will create a traveling display of his personal photography highlighting marine habitats and life, which will be displayed at local businesses to educate community members about marine conservation topics.
Derek P. will launch his Tagged initiative by training young people and recreational anglers to assist with shark tagging efforts. The data collected through this effort will then be shared with community members through outreach efforts focused on shark conservation.
Lilly T.’s Oyster Dockafeller project will lead to the creation of engineered oyster reefs to help improve water quality and marine habitat on the Florida coast, and in other regions. The program will also provide monthly educational opportunities for the public to learn more about the important role oysters play in coastal environments.
Makenna K. and members of Brevard Zoo’s Teen Volunteer Program will renovate their Paws On Learning Garden area at the zoo with a focus on teaching young students and their families about ocean pollution and the importance of preventing fertilizer runoff.
The Plastic Free Mermaids group in Ft. Lauderdale, FL will launch their One Straw for Life campaign – educating community members about the importance of living a plastic free lifestyle, collecting data on individual’s use of single use plastic items, and providing stainless steel straws to community residents.
Trent T.’s Take 10 for Turtles initiative is a multi-pronged approach to protect sea turtles including outreach to local school students, coastal cleanups, the creation of art and activities for younger students, and volunteering for sea turtle releases.
Riley R.’s Clean Up Oceans! campaign will initiate regular beach cleanups in the Hobe Sound region of the east coast of Florida. Trash collected from these campaigns will be used to make educational art pieces to further highlight the importance of preventing marine debris.
Hannah R. will create educational outreach kits focused on a variety of endangered marine life and invasive species and utilize these to teach younger students about wildlife conservation through schools and 4-H clubs in her community.
The Brevard Zoo Teen Volunteers will host a Youth Environmental Summit to increase awareness of wildlife and habitat conservation issues among students ages 12-18 and connect them to resources to take action in their communities.
Holly H. will host An Evening Under the Sea, transforming the Cape Coral Yacht Club into an undersea environment for an event engaging students and their families in hands on activities, crafts, games, and educational lessons focused on marine conservation with support from more than a dozen local environmental organizations.
Jack K. will launch his Restoring Habitat Value to Coastal Man-Made Canals project, involving youth, anglers, and local residents in collecting baseline water quality data in coastal canals, creating educational outreach initiatives on the importance of man made marine ecosystems, and carrying out initiatives to improve the water quality of these spaces.
Jacqueline J. will launch her Mana’tee campaign, designing logoed t-shirts and merchandise to raise awareness about manatee conservation and funds to support manatee conservation efforts.
Students in Mote Marine Laboratory’s Homeschool Advanced Program will receive funding for seven projects focused on topics including raising awareness about sustainable seafood, educating community members on the importance of leaving live animals at the beach, addressing cigarette butt litter and plastic pollution, and protecting endangered marine species.
Olivia S.’s Forest of Change campaign will engage community members in an effort to encourage local stores to switch to biodegradable bags, and raise awareness about the importance of preventing single use plastic waste.
Congratulations to our mini-grant recipients! We’re looking forward to supporting your work and sharing your stories over the coming months!