SEATTLE AQUARIUM TO HOST ELITE YOUTH ACTIVISTS AT INAUGURAL
OCEAN HEROES BOOTCAMP SQUAD LEADER TRAINING SUMMIT
Following the Seattle training, nearly 300 Ocean Heroes will convene in June to learn from leading scientists, acclaimed campaigners, and their peers
WHAT: In preparation for the annual Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, a group of elite youth activists will participate in a three-day Squad Leader Training Summit hosted at the Seattle Aquarium to learn peer-to-peer leadership and build capacity for driving change at scale. The Summit will train over 10 youth activists in advance of their roles as “Squad Leaders” of the 2019 Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, hosted by Ocean Wise, which will welcome 300 international youth to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Developed by leading international ocean-health NGOs and creative partners, Ocean Heroes Bootcamp empowers global youth to create their own impact campaigns to fight the ocean plastic crisis. The three-day program, led by the “Squad Leaders”, equips attending youth ages 11-18 with critical knowledge and essential campaigning tools, such as how to start a movement against single-use plastics in their hometowns. By building peer networks, Ocean Heroes learn the vitality of collaboration across geographies, demographics, backgrounds and interests.
Since the inaugural Ocean Heroes Bootcamp 2018, 20+ youth activists have implemented campaigns to eliminate single-use plastic straws in their communities; with one of those Heroes single-handedly keeping over 10 million straws [annually] out of circulation by removing them from over 84 public schools in her area.
WHO: Ocean Heroes Bootcamp was co-founded by Captain Planet Foundation, Lonely Whale, and Point Break Foundation. The three founding organizations produce the annual Bootcamp and the year-long Campaign Mentorship Program with critical collaboration from more than 10 partner NGOs, like Algalita and the Seattle Aquarium, both leading partners in the Squad Leader Training Summit.
A sample of 2019 Squad Leaders participating in this training include:
- Anushka Bhaskar, an 18-year-old California native who serves as the Chief Youth Officer of Algalita Marine Research and Education. Bhaskar believes that young people should have every opportunity to communicate their ideas for a world protected from environmental destruction and geared towards responsible and sustainable practices that build environmental resilience.
- Carter Ries, 17-year-old co-founder of One More Generation (OMG), a nonprofit Carter and his sister collaborate on to educate youth and adults about endangered species. Carter has countless accomplishments in the fight against plastic pollution including creating the OneLessStraw campaign which has been adopted by thousands of restaurants globally, and helped to encourage Delta to eliminate plastic straws on its flights and in airport clubs, and more.
- Elsa Mengistu, a 17-year-old North Carolina native who serves as the director of partnerships at Zero Hour and coordinates outreach in order to gain support for the Youth Climate Movement. Mengistu was one of the lead youth organizers for her local March For Our Lives chapter and school walkouts.
- Shelby O’Neil, an 18-year-old California native who convinced Alaska Airlines to ditch plastic straws and toothpicks on all its flights. O’Neil was also flown to the Delta Airlines headquarters to promote her campaign.
- Featured Keynote Presenter: Jamie Margolin, co-founder of Zero Hour, a movement to center the voices of diverse youth in the conversation around climate and environmental justice
Additional keynote presenters include Andy Romjue, president of Hoffmaster, parent company of Aardvark Straws; Dune Ives, executive director of Lonely Whale; Leesa Carter-Jones, president & CEO of Captain Planet Foundation; Jaqueline Drumhelle, former sustainability manager for Alaska Airlines; and more.
WHEN/WHERE: Friday, May 17 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Loulay, 600 Union St., Seattle 98101
Saturday, May 18 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way
Sunday, May 19 from 8:30 a.m.-noon at Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way
Key Squad Leader Training events include (full schedule here):
Saturday, May 18
8:45-9 a.m. Opening Keynote on Leadership: Erin Meyer, Director of Conservation Programs & Partnerships at Seattle Aquarium
11 a.m.-noon Corporate Engagement Fireside Chat
This panel features Jaqueline Drumhelle, former sustainability manager for Alaska Airlines, Andy Romjue, president of Hoffmaster, and Dune Ives, executive director of Lonely Whale, who will discuss Strawless Skies and tips for engaging corporate entities in sustainability campaigns. Ives and Romjue will also reflect on Strawless In Seattle and how the two organizations jointly approached businesses to create impact across the city during the month-long campaign. Squad Leader Shelby O’Neil will moderate the session.
1-1:40 p.m Tour of Seattle Microplastics Lab
Sunday, May 19
8:30-9 a.m. Youth keynote and Q&A on connection between climate + oceans and growing a grassroots movement: Youth activist Jamie Margolin, founder of Zero Hour
9:15-9:30 a.m. Workshop with youth leaders, Captain Planet Foundation, and Lonely Whale on meeting Ocean Heroes Bootcamp 2020 challenge
Noon Closing Remarks: Jim Wharton, Seattle Aquarium Director, Conservation Engagement and Learning
Ocean Heroes Bootcamp is creating a global network of empowered youth leaders working in collaboration to beat plastic pollution. The 2019 Bootcamp will train 300 youth activists ages 11-18 from 29 countries and 25 states.
While the inaugural Bootcamp highlighted methods for eliminating single-use plastic straws, this year’s campaign focus is on single-use plastic water bottles. With emerging studies that draw connections between methane and plastic breakdown, the Squad Leader Training Summit is critical for youth education about the impact ocean plastic pollution has on their future climate. Plastic is connected to climate change and it pollutes at every stage: from materials extraction to product production to waste disposal.
During the Bootcamp, youth participants not only learn plastic’s environmental impact, but also the essentials of impact campaigning. Workshops are facilitated by leading scientists and internationally acclaimed campaigners. All Ocean Heroes Bootcamp participants will learn from their peers including internationally recognized youth activists Olivia & Carter Ries, Hannah Testa, Saanya Bhargava, Melati Wisjen, among others. Through their guidance, attending Ocean Heroes create unique campaign concepts that they have the chance to pitch to a panel of expert judges, including Captain Planet Foundation Board Chair and global eco-influencer, Laura Turner Seydel, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador and Lonely Whale Co-founder Adrian Grenier, and Co-Founder of Bye Bye Plastic Bags Melati Wijsen.
Environmental and youth-focused organizations making Ocean Heroes Bootcamp possible include co-founders Captain Planet Foundation, Lonely Whale, and Point Break Foundation, and 2019 programming partners 5Gyres Institute, Algalita, Big Blue and You, Litterati, Love Letters to the Sea, The Ocean Project, UN Environment, and this year’s host, Ocean Wise.