We at YOCS are so pleased to announce our 2018 Baltimore and North Carolina Youth Ocean Conservation Summit grant recipients. These young conservationists are executing amazing work with their grants and we couldn't be more happy to tell their stories.
Cape Fear Academy student, Amanda Edwards, from North Carolina was awarded one of our YOCS grants. She plans to use the YOCS grant to educate her classmates about climate change’s negative effect on coral by installing a coral aquarium in her school and holding lessons, guest speaker series, and other educational experiences for elementary school students.
North Carolina has also brought us the grant recipient Sarah Windsor. Sarah used her grant to improve the water quality of her school’s wetland by purchasing and planting native plant species in the area. Sarah’s project will help prevent erosion, restore the natural habitat of the wetland, and contain runoff.
Maria Windsor, too, is working on restoring the habitat of the Millennium Charter Academy wetlands with her grant. However, she differs from Sarah’s conservation work by instead focusing on aiding the waterfowl and other aviary animals as a means to improve overall water quality. The nesting boxes Maria established with her grant will encourage native waterfowl to populate the school’s wetland area. The waterfowls’ presence will improve water quality, strengthen the wetlands’ banks, help to spread aquatic plants, fish, amphibians, and eggs, and minimize the growth of invasive plant species.
Ben Regester from Greensboro, North Carolina has already made great use of his YOCS grant by organizing an educational conservation event on behalf of World Ocean Day. His overall goal was to persuade to public to reconsider their role in plastic pollution and to “skip the straw” next time they have a drink. Ben executed his goal by hosting a movie screening at the Greensboro Science Center where he showed the movie “Straws” and handed out reusable metal straws at the end of the night.
To combat marine pollution, Elena Blackwelder from Kure Beach, NC plans to educate her local Pleasure Beach community about the negative environmental consequences associated with single use plastics. To execute this plan Elena has reached out to local businesses along Carolina Beach Boardwalk to persuade them to limit their single-use plastic consumption and to encourage their customers to forgo single use plastics as well. Following that outreach, Elena helped host the Turn the Tide festival (a festival centralized around making sustainable choices for the ocean) and organized a beach cleanup with her community members and business owners to keep plastic out Pleasure Beach waters.
Madeline Jaffe from the Baltimore Technical Institute launched the Global Gardens project with her YOCS grant. Her project addresses climate change and decreasing water quality by mitigating atmospheric and groundwater pollution through education and action. Madeline plans to reach out to children and teenagers who attend local schools and recreation centers in order to help them start their own garden whilst educating them about climate change. The trees and plants not only serve as carbon sinks and natural water filtration systems, but as excellent learning tools as well.
Congratulations to our 2018 YOCS North Carolina and Baltimore mini-grant recipients and a special thank you to our partners and donors for their support of these conservation projects!