What have you been up too since attending the Ocean Matters program?
In 2019 I attended the Ocean Matters program in Florida. I have since graduated high school and moved into an apartment in Charleston, South Carolina where I am studying at the College of Charleston and majoring in Marine Biology on a pre-vet track.
What did you receive from your involvement in Ocean Matters that will stay with you moving forward?
I gained new and some of the most unique experiences of my life such as earning my PADI open water divers certification, as well as my coral restoration specialty. I got to travel all over the peninsula and be fortunate to see so many amazing things such as a variety of wildlife and new places. I got to gain incredible experience that has already been beneficial to me in the beginning of my college career. I also received some of the greatest friends I could ask for! To this day we all mostly stay in touch and we got so close over our trip.
What do you wish everyone knew about the ocean or could experience in the ocean?
I want everyone to experience the beauty of the ocean at least one time in their life. When people come in contact with the ocean it’s a whole new level of calm and connection. I also want everyone to know that they can do something to preserve the ocean. Conservation starts with the single steps you as a person decide to take and when you do that you are helping the ocean maintain it’s natural beauty so that it will be around for generations to come.
In your opinion, what’s the biggest threat to the world’s oceans and what is something we do about it?
Definitely anthropogenic climate change. Climate change due to air pollution is the main player in ocean acidification which damages vital organisms that call the ocean their home. Pollution is also a major threat which introduces toxic materials into our waterways which aquatic species can ingest which causes harm. Some things we can do are cut down on our travel or using eco-friendly transportation to cut down on emissions and the big thing would have to be reducing the amount of single use plastics that we buy.
How has your unique perspective helped inform your passion for the ocean?
I think my perspective has allowed me to be fully cognitive of the problems the oceans are really facing. Educating myself and being aware and passionate about the ocean is what made me decide to pursue a marine biology degree. I want to be part of the change in the world to the extent where I’m able to help as many aquatic animals as I possible can.
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