The Marine Conservation Society is calling for nominations for its annual Young Ocean Optimist of the Year Award.
Now in its third year, the award seeks to recognise the achievements of passionate young people across the UK, making a difference for our ocean. The Marine Conservation Society is encouraging nominations for individuals who have made a positive contribution or effort to protect and celebrate the ocean in the past 12 months.
Whether they’re cleaning a local beach, raising awareness of amazing marine life, or sharing their passion through research, art, social media, writing, walking or more, the charity wants to hear about it.
The award consists of two categories – one for those under 12 years of age, and one for 13-18-year-olds. This year’s winners will be announced at the charity’s online Annual General Meeting on 17th of November.
The Marine Conservation Society engages with and encourages young people to become a voice for the ocean. Its Youth Ocean Network was established in March 2022 and has over 100 members across the UK aged between 13 and 25 who share a sense of ocean optimism and a passion for our seas. The charity aims to showcase and celebrate the enthusiasm of young people for the ocean through both this network and the Young Ocean Optimist of the Year Award.
Sandy Luk, CEO of the Marine Conservation Society said: “We’re proud to work alongside so many passionate and inspiring young people across the country to protect, restore and celebrate our ocean and these awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise those who’ve gone above and beyond this year. Young people are the future – for us and for the planet. It’s extremely encouraging to see so many taking action and making a difference, and I’m really looking forward to hearing about young people who’ve used their creativity and ingenuity to help us protect our blue planet.”
Katie Macfarlane, Youth Engagement Office of the Marine Conservation Society said: “Young people today have endless passion, knowledge and drive to protect our natural world, and in my experience are incredibly innovative and solution focussed. It’s this optimism that inspires me to do what I do – I learn from the young people I meet every day and am consistently amazed by their dedication. I am really looking forward to hearing about a whole new cohort of Young Ocean Optimists via our 2022 awards.”
Links to short videos (under 5 minutes), audio recordings (under 2 minutes) and social media or online articles/blogs to support nominations are welcomed.
Nominations will be shortlisted by a panel of staff and volunteers at the Marine Conservation Society, using criteria such as the nature, impact and dedication of the nominee’s efforts. The top ten nominees will then be sent to the judging panel, which includes Sandy Luk, CEO of the Marine Conservation Society, and Gavin Stewart from the Scottish Youth Parliament.
The panel will then select the winner for each age category when they meet on 13th October. The winners will be announced live at the charity’s online AGM on the evening of Thursday 17th November 2022.
The deadline for nominations is Sunday 9th October. To nominate someone, head to mcsuk.org/ocean-optimist and complete the nomination form.
Help protect our marine environment with BSAC’s new Shore Surveyor course
BSAC has partnered with Scottish environmental charity, Seawilding, to offer everyone the chance to help champion the marine environment with the new Shore Surveyor course.
Delivered by eLearning, Shore Surveyor has been designed to engage people, particularly children and young people, in the issues that face our precious marine life. With a focus on the UK’s native oyster and seagrass beds, this eLearning course equips participants with the skills needed to help identify seashore-based habitats and record what they find.
Shore Surveyor is open to everyone, whether they are BSAC members or not.
Working with Seawilding, the UK’s first community-led native oyster and seagrass restoration project, Shore Surveyor participants will also learn about the native oyster and seagrass beds and the issues they currently face.
Both the UK’s native oyster and seagrass habitats have experienced a serious decline over the past 200 years, resulting in an estimated 95% reduction in populations. The new Shore Surveyor course ties directly into BSAC’s major new marine project, Operation Oyster, which aims to protect and restore native oyster habitats around the UK.
By the end of the course, participants can become ‘citizen scientists’ by helping to locate and record seashore areas where current or potential native oysters or seagrass populations are present. This data can then be fed into the National Marine Records Database to help scientists studying our coast as well as support future underwater surveys.
Seawilding CEO, Danny Renton, said he was delighted to partner with BSAC on the Shore Surveyor course.
“Our seas are in peril, and it’s so important to engage families and especially young people, in the wonders of the sea and to engage them in marine conservation. The Shore Surveyor course is the first step to get involved in initiatives like seagrass and native oyster restoration and to nurture a new generation of ocean activists, environmentalists and marine biologists.”
BSAC’s Chief Executive, Mary Tetley, said the new Shore Surveyor course was also part of BSAC’s drive to get more young people actively involved in marine life protection.
“This new course not only explores the threats faced by our precious oceans but also empowers people to get directly involved.
“From a family visit to the beach to a club diving or snorkelling trip, the skills learned on Shore Surveyor can be invaluable to anyone, young or not so young, who wants to make a difference to our under-pressure marine life.”
One of the first participants of the Shore Surveyor course, 16-year-old Lili, from North Wales, has recently put her new found surveying skills into action while on her summer holidays.
“I loved it because it was simple and easy to use and remember,” said Lili. “All ages will enjoy it – young children, teenagers, parents, even grandparents.
“There is a bit of eLearning to do before you start but that is easy to do, and the course really helps you when you go out and see everything for real on the beach!”
Shore Surveyor is open to children aged eight up to adults and costs £20. For more information and to book onto the eLearning course, go to bsac.com/shoresurveyor.
For more information on Operation Oyster and other ways you can get involved, go to bsac.com/operationoyster
PADI and Seiko Prospex unite to help create the world’s largest underwater cleanup for ocean change
PADI® and Seiko Prospex are teaming up to help marine conservation charity Oceanum Liberandum host the world’s largest underwater cleanup event in Sesimbra, Portugal on 24 September 2022.
Taking place during AWARE Week, the event aims to bring together 700 divers to clean up the coastline for a 12-hour period and is anticipated to host the most divers ever on record taking part in one consecutive underwater cleanup effort. Participating divers and dive centres from around the region will come together to collect marine debris–which will ultimately be logged into PADI’s Dive Against Debris database.
“Our database is the world’s largest in terms of capturing seafloor debris data, which has already helped drive two pioneering scientific papers being used to create new waste management policies,” says Emma Daffurn, CSR Specialist for PADI Worldwide. “More than 250 million tons of plastic are estimated to make its way into our ocean by 2025 and the environmental damage caused by plastic debris alone is estimated at $13 billion US a year. This world record attempt further highlights the important role divers play in reporting, removing and advocating to stop marine debris at its source.”
PADI is proud to have Seiko Prospex on board as the sponsor of the marine debris program and a partner for this world record attempt. Their support is critical to advancing the PADI Blueprint for Ocean Action, and protecting the global ocean now and for generations to come.
“Helping to raise awareness and take an active role in environmental conservation has become one of Seiko Prospex’s missions,” says Miguel Rodrigues, Sales & Marketing Director for Seiko Prospex. “We seek, whenever possible, to support events that have ocean conservation at their core, and we are very honored to sponsor the world’s largest underwater cleanup. We are proud to contribute to a more sustainable future where humans are an integral part of nature.”
Those who want to volunteer to take part in the world record attempt can learn more and sign up at oceanumliberandum.pt/en/Largest-Underwater-cleanup-in-the-World/. The 15 euro registration fee will go towards supporting dive centres with boats, facilities and air bottle logistics.
“We’re thrilled to have the chance to work with Seiko in supporting the largest underwater cleanup event so that we can mobilise Ocean TorchbearersTM to take action to protect what they love, capture more essential data for policy changes, and continue the wave of momentum in creating positive ocean change,” says Daffurn.
For more from PADI, visit www.padi.com
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