Team Ocean teen leader Cheyenne, age 17, is from our Florida project has found connection and meaning in the ocean her whole life. She exemplifies why youth leadership is important and how the ocean matters.
1) What did you receive from your involvement in Ocean Matters that will stay with you moving forward?
I received the gift of earning my PADI open water scuba certification and coral reef restoration 1 certification. I better understand the complex relationship we as humans have with the ocean due to the involvement I had with Ocean Matters and learning as a group and experiencing the hands on projects with like minded people, who gave me the gift of friendship for life. We all came together from different parts of the United States and yet have so much in common.
2) What do you wish everyone knew about the ocean or could experience in the ocean?
It would be just wonderful if everyone was more conscientious about using plastic and chemicals.
It takes everyone to help keep our oceans healthy. I wish more people could spend some time in the ocean surrounded by the magic that happens there. How beautiful it is to see a mother manatee and her baby interact and chew on grass: the sound that they make while eating and the in-awe moments of the baby making noises. Nevertheless, the catfish in their own environment swimming so freely made me rethink fishing all together.
3) In your opinion, what’s the biggest threat to the world’s oceans and what is something we do about it?
It saddens me to think of how much damage we have already done. If we all did just a little like use paper bags instead of plastic and using glass cups instead of producing another line of recyclable plastic bottled water. This makes such a huge difference. We as humans like to take the short cut and make things too easy by being selfish like this and it has destroyed so much of the ocean.
The ocean has always been more than just a place to go swimming. I feel it in my veins and a connection like no other. I find it almost hard to put into words except to say it is my grace and spiritual place that I can turn to at anytime. It soothes and calms me to watch the tides roll in and out.-Cheyenne
4) How has your unique perspective helped inform your passion for the ocean?
My love for the ocean runs deep ever since I can remember. My mom and I have lived within driving distance of the ocean my whole life. When things don’t go so well, I am drawn to the ocean for clarity and peace. It’s the same for when something good happens: I turn and tune into the ocean for celebration.
The ocean has always been more than just a place to go swimming. I feel it in my veins and a connection like no other. I find it almost hard to put into words except to say it is my grace and spiritual place that I can turn to at anytime. It soothes and calms me to watch the tides roll in and out. I constantly look for different objects, animals and even parts of sea creatures that roll in with the tide. I find it fascinating when I can pick up a shark or ray’s teeth. I also pick up litter and plastic wherever I go. I love learning about the ocean and I can never get enough. My love for the ocean is my calling and I love to answer it.