Youth Advisory Council

The Advisory Council helps to expand the reach and impact of World Oceans Day, on 8 June and with continued engagement year-round. Advisory Council members are instrumental in helping shape the development of World Oceans Day as it grows, providing new and unique perspectives, ideas, and recommendations. Together with the Advisory Council and our growing global network of partners from all sectors and in more than 100 countries, we provide opportunities for ocean conservation throughout the year. 

World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council Handbook

The World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council application will reopen in June 2019! In the meantime, please join the global youth network to receive the latest news and updates. 

Aldrin Aujero

Aldrin is an 18-year-old junior from the International School of Manila. His passion lies towards the intersection of the environment and social issues especially pertaining to poverty alleviation and development. He is an alum of the 2018 Sustainable Development and Social Entrepreneurship Session of the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, and takes both Environmental Systems and Societies and Economics for his IB program.  


Mentored by Asian Development Bank’s Youth for Asia Team, he is a cofounder of Project PUNO, an environmental conservation group which provides engaging youth-centered story-books that fosters appreciation towards environmental conservation of threatened Philippine ecosystems. He is also the Secretary General of EarthSavers, an NAUCP awarded UNESCO Club involved in tackling social issues through grassroots educational and sustainability initiatives. He also serves as the Philippine ambassador to Tunza, an environmental platform founded by UNEP and Samsung Engineering where he publishes monthly reports on sustainability issues, and a global ambassador to Bridge-the-Divide, a political initiative which engages the youth in political discourse pertaining to pertinent social issues like global sustainability. Actively involved in international environmental forums, he has also spearheaded workshops in the Global Issues Network and, along with his peers, has been one of the youngest oral presenters for his research on the climate vulnerability of the Cordillera Rice Terraces during the Sustainable Agriculture Food and Energy (SAFE) Conference. 


Cognizant of the power of the youth’s voice, Aldrin is also heavily involved in his school’s Model United Nations and Forensics and Debate clubs where he helps sharpen both his own and his peers’ public speaking talents. In his free time, Aldrin enjoys swimming, snorkeling and exploring the beautiful oceans of the Philippines. Outside of the water, he loves reading the Economist, listening to Radiolab, and leading service trips to schools within Manila. Through the Youth Advisory Council, he hopes to make a positive impact and help drive a more sustainable future for the marine ecosystems of the Philippines.  


You can connect with him through: 

Click here to read Aldrin's latest blog!

Anna Zaske

Member since 2018

At 17 years old, Anna Zaske has always considered herself an international student. Originally from Germany, Anna has lived in the US, Scotland, and now Denmark. The common denominator of every place she lived in was that there was always a sea or ocean nearby. Therefore, the ocean and marine life has always been a part of home for her. It is her peaceful place and she simply loves it.

Anna enjoys snorkeling, surfing, paddle boarding, swimming, and taking walks along our beautiful oceans. When not in the water, she loves playing volleyball and volunteering to lead Sustainability Tours around her school's campus to raise money for an orphanage in Peru. Anna wants to protect the fascinating marine wildlife and to preserve our vast ocean and all the amazing experiences it offers us.  She decided to join the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council, because she believes by passionately collaborating both locally and internationally, WE can make a difference, and Anna believes we should begin NOW.

Click here to read Anna 's latest blog!

Anushka Bhaskar

Since the age of 11, Anushka has been working internationally to impact the worldwide community with her work on plastic ocean pollution, climate justice, special needs education, female empowerment, and STEM curriculum development. Beginning with her work on the California bag ban initiative, Anushka represented youth opinion on the legislation at her local city council, debating former gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen. After working with Algalita Marine Research Institute for the first time in 2011, she solidified her passion for working with and speaking on behalf of youth. As the Chief Youth Officer of Algalita, Anushka has worked to create youth leadership programming for students all over the world. Alongside managing the annual POPS International Youth Summit which supports hundreds of students along their plastic smart journey each year, she has been managing plastic-smart projects all over the world in countries like India, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and Japan. She worked with the Girl Scouts of the USA as a National Girl Innovator representing 2.6 million girls to help create STEM badges connected to environmental studies and citizen science. She serves as the Junior Brand Ambassador of Earth Friendly Products, a position through which she collaborates with the Environmental Media Association. She is currently working with the states of Massachusetts and California on legislation related to plastic pollution and plans to bring her work on the mitigation and elimination of ocean plastic pollution to campus at Harvard University, where she is an undergraduate. 

Click here to read Anushka's latest blog!

Cade Terada

Member since 2018 

Cade Emory Terada is from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, which also happens to be the number one fishing port by volume in the United States. Throughout his time growing up there he saw changes in his home and wanted to do something about it. This led him to join the Alaska Youth for Environmental Action and served as a US Arctic Youth Ambassador from 2015-2017. As an Ambassador, he raised awareness about the impacts of ocean acidification as well as the impacts of climate change on the circumpolar Arctic. Cade currently attends Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, and is pursuing a BA in environmental studies. 

Click here to read Cade's latest blog!

Gabrielle Tan

Member since 2018

Gabrielle Tan is a 16-year-old student in Malaysia who loves learning about anything to do with Geography and hopes to pursue Environmental Science in the near future. Friends call her Gabby, Gabs or Dory (long story) and she tries to live by the quote “Forever is composed of nows.”

Gabby’s earliest memories of the ocean are of playing in the sand and wading at the beach over in Sabah. She has always loved and been amazed by our oceans but it wasn’t until a school Geography trip to a Coral Reef Nursery that she realized the huge importance of our marine ecosystems and the sheer urgency for us to step up and protect them. Since then, Gabby has tried her best to raise awareness about coral reef conservation by speaking at assemblies, making videos, and running a blog about our oceans. She believes her efforts have just scratched the surface of what a whole team could achieve together and she couldn’t be more excited to be on the Council. Gabby is looking forward to a great year ahead! 

Click here to read Gabrielle's latest blog!

Ibrahi Rodriguez

Member since 2018

Ibrahi Rodriguez is thrilled to call the Galapagos Islands home. Although he wishes he could have spent his entire childhood there, he had to move to Guayaquil for several years. This experience made him realize that the environment can become contaminated when people don’t consider their actions. Overall, Ibrahi believes that growing up alongside the ocean in Santa Cruz, Ecuador, has had a huge influence on who he is as a person.

Ibrahi began working towards protecting the oceans three years ago when he joined the Ecology Project International (EPI). EPI is an NGO that focuses on citizen science projects and works alongside local youth and scientists to preserve the islands Ibrahi lives in. His interest in conservation spiked when the staff began discussing the green sea turtle monitoring program training camping. He jumped at the chance to join one of the training program and learned all about this beautiful animal. Ibrahi was so inspired by the end of the training that he continued to learn about the problems sea turtles are facing in modern society.

It took Ibrahi a while to decide what he was going to do to assist the efforts other NGOs were doing to protect this species. However with the assiatnce of EPI and other organizations, he is now getting ready to set up his own camp at another island in the archipelago. Ibrahi plans to teach the local youth about what he learned from his research and experience about the importance of sea turtles in the environment. This is a special moment for Ibrahi because he realized that he doesn’t have to be a professional to help the environment. As long as he has a passion for conservation and the right support from his local organizations,  he can start his own project.

Currently, Ibrahi is going to be one of EPI’s leaders for the green sea turtle nests monitoring program. That way, he can get the community of Santa Cruz, his home, more engaged and empowered so they can take immediate actions that over time will help conserve our beautiful environment. Now, at almost 18 years old, Ibrahi looks forward to becoming a marine biologist over the next five years so he can work harder than ever to protect the oceans. That is his strongest desire.

Click here to read Ibrahi's latest blog!

Isabelle Grace

Isabelle is a student activist who is passionate about the ocean and its life. She is a member of a bilingual school in Switzerland and loves surfing, swimming, sailing, photography and feels happiest when in or near the ocean. She also has over 15 diving certifications. After witnessing the effects climate change has on the ocean, she became fascinated with marine biology and ocean conservation.  Isabelle wants to dedicate her life to protecting the ocean. More specifically she wants to identify the ocean as a source of life for the planet, reverse the effect of coral bleaching, and protect marine life. 

For several years, she worked closely with coastal communities in Fiji, Australia, Costa Rica and the Caribbean. In these locations, people rely on the ocean and nearby coral reefs to live, provide food, money, and shelter for their families. She was horrified to see so many communities devastated by overfishing depleting marine life. She has worked with other communities who were successfully using artisanal fishing techniques and is committed to developing and supporting sustainable economic models for fishing communities. 

Her academic interest in reversing the effects of coral bleaching took her from Switzerland to the University of Costa Rica to intern at CIMAR- Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología. She also interned at the Centre Scientifique of Monaco working with the team of biologists studying genetic variations of corals. She hopes to study Marine Biology and Environmental Studies at university and conduct her own genetic research. 

She is actively engaged in MUN (Model United Nations) where she has passionately debated topics such as plastic pollution at conferences in Europe. 

Isabelle believes that each person needs to take action in leading efforts to stop ocean acidification, pollution from plastics, overfishing and other serious threats to the ocean. 

Click here to read Isabelle's latest blog!

Kehkashan Basu

Member since 2018 

Winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize, Kehkashan Basu has been impacting the global fraternity for the past eight years with her work on peace, children’s rights, education for sustainable development, gender equality, and climate justice. Born on June 5th, which is also World Environment Day, she feels that it was pre-ordained that she should grow up to be an eco-warrior. In 2013, at the age of 12, she was elected for a 2-year term as UNEP’s (United Nations Environment Programme) Global Coordinator for Children & Youth. She became a member of its Major Groups Facilitating Committee and is the youngest person and the first minor to be elected into this position in the history of UNEP. A passionate advocate of children’s rights, Kehkashan is a United Nations Human Rights Champion and lends her support to the UN’s StandUp campaign. The UK Youth Climate Coalition named her as one the 8 global Climate Heroines of 2014.

Kehkashan is the founder of a youth organization, Green Hope Foundation, which engages, educates, and empowers young people to take local and regional actions on mitigating climate change, protecting oceans and natural habitats, stopping land degradation, reducing pollution and wastage and creating a sustainable future. Through ground level actions, she has led Green Hope members in planting several thousand trees, cleaned up a multitude of beaches, worked on mangrove conservation, adopted endangered turtles, engaged the community to reduce wastage and pollution, and adopted sustainable consumption as a way of life. Green Hope now has over 1000 members across Canada, USA, the Middle East, India, and Nepal. In her role as the voice of children and youth, she has spoken at over 50 United Nations and other international summits, travelling to over 20 Countries. Her internationally acclaimed work on sustainability has resulted in her appointment as the Youth Ambassador of World Future Council, Honorary Advisor for the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development – NY, Global Advisory Council member of Young Men 4 Gender Equality -USA, a Climate Reality Leader, member of KidsRights Youngsters, and a former Global Youth Ambassador for A World At School (2014~2016) to promote the cause of global education.

Kehkashan has received international awards from UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) in 2012, the 2012 Korea Green Foundation award, the 2013 International Young Eco-Hero award from Action for Nature, USA, the 2014 Kids are Heroes USA award, 2014 GESS award as Ambassador for the Environment, the 2014 Solar Pioneer Award, the  Non-Resident Indian of the Year award in 2015, and the 2015 International Diana Award. In 2017, she was conferred the prestigious Energy Globe Award and the Turner Social Change Prize.

Click here to read Kehkashan's latest blog!

Laura Park

Laura Park is a 20-year-old student at Plymouth University in the UK studying Ocean Science and Marine Conservation. Having grown up around the coast is what cemented her drive to contribute to the ocean and its inhabitants. 

Laura recently spent a month in South Africa collecting opportunistic data on whaling watching boat. She also contributed to regular beach cleans, river health surveys, teaching children to speak English, rare whale dissections and seal counts and surveys. Shalso played an integral role in the continuation of research on different cetacean species around the coast. 

When she was 17, she spent the summer at Bangor University and completed a Nuffield Research project entitled “3D Morphology of Sabelleria alveolata reefs” gaining a gold STEM crest award for the paper. She also aided PhD students with the fieldwork for their thesis’. 

Laura has always loved water-based sports, be it rowing, swimming or kayaking. When she’s not in the water she loves horse riding, volunteering at an aquarium and tutoring younger students. She is currently in her final year of her undergraduate degree and is working towards a master’s degree in Marine Mammal Biology.  

Laura’s passion for the ocean and all its inhabitants is what inspired her to apply for the World Ocean’s Day Youth Advisory Council as she feels that there is always more that can be done. To her, the best way to make a difference is to start immediately and include the world in the local and global effort. 

Laura Park is a 20-year-old student at Plymouth University in the UK stu

dying Ocean

Science and Marine Conservation. Among her earliest memori

es is a deep

fascination with the ocean and its inhabitants and having g

rown up around the coast

is what cemented her drive to contribute to its conservation.

Laura recently spent a month in South Africa collecting opportuni

stic data on whaling

watching boats as well as contributing to regular beach cle

ans, river health surveys,

teaching children to speak English, rare whale dissections and seal

counts and

surveys. Along with other opportunities she contributed continu

ing research on

different cetacean species around the coast.

When she was


she spent the summer at Bangor University and completed a

Nuffield Research project entitled

3D Morphology of Sabelleria alveolata reefs

gaining a gold STEM crest award for the paper. She also aided Ph

D students with

the fieldwork for their thesis


Laura has always loved water-based sports, be it rowing, swimm

ing or kayaking.

When she

s not in the water she loves horse riding, volunteering at an a

quarium and

tutoring younger students. She is currently in her final year of

her undergraduate

degree and is working towards a master

s degree in Marine Mammal Biology.


s passion for the ocean and all its inhabitants is what inspired h

er to apply for

the World Ocean

s Day Youth Advisory Council as she feels that there is always

more that can be done. To her, the best way to make a difference

is to start

immediately and include the world in the local and global


Click here to read Laura's latest blog!

Mae Paula Ross Clareza

Paula Clareza is a registered librarian and a licensed professional teacher. She believes that everyone can advocate for environmental conservation, regardless of profession or age. You are never too young to lead! 

Her journey as an environmental advocate started when she joined the Sea and Earth Advocates Camp (SEA Camp) of Save Philippine Seas in 2016. Since then, she changed her way of life slowly and practiced sustainable living. She has also led and facilitated community-based projects that focused on marine conservation and protection.  

Her passion to protect the ocean grew more and deep when she tried snorkeling for the first time and saw with her own eyes how magical and breathtaking our oceans are. 

Click here to read Mae Paula Ross's latest blog!

Nicolas Chesta

Since Nicolás wachild, he has loved playing on the beaches and feeling the cold refreshing waves of the Pacific Ocean. While he was growing, he noticed that a coastal country like Chile needs to protect the Ocean constantly. For this reason, he considers himself an educator, creating opportunities for young people to learn about the consequences of water pollution. His mission is to build students into positive contributors to the environment! 

Through his activism, he was selected to be a Chilean Youth Ambassador on 2017, traveling to the United States. It was through this opportunity that he learned civic engagement techniques that he would use in the future. He also was selected to be part of the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) of EarthEcho International, working actively to lead environmental movements by thinking globally and acting locally. 

Nowadays, Nicolás is developing a non-profit organization called Water Surfaces Caring. His team’s goal is to expand their green impact ithe local region and continue protecting the ocean! 

Click here to read Nicolás's latest blog!

Olivia Livingstone

Olivia Precious Livingstone graduated and obtained her high school diploma from the St. Teresa’s Convent Catholic High School and is presently a Senior student at the Cuttington University studying Environmental Science. 

She is an ambitious student who loves learning new things. She believes that the quest for knowledge is the first step to success.  Her passion for making the environment a better and conducive place for humans and all its inhabitants cannot be overemphasized. She does not believe in “giving up” and her curious mind makes her a great researcher. 

As a child, Olivia remembered spending her evenings on the beach and watching the sunset with her Dad. She has always been drawn to nature and things in their natural state and she believes that one of the best decisions she has made is to study Environmental Science. Cognizant of the many challenges that the Environment is faced with, Olivia has started her own NGO called the Green Stewards Incorporated (GSI). GSI focuses on finding solutions and mitigations methods that can aid in reducing the harmful effects and threats that these challenges (Climate Change, Land Degradation, Ocean Pollution, Improper Waste Management, Plastic Invasion, etc.) pose to the environment. In GSI’s quest for mitigation measures, Conservation is one of its leading proposed solutions.  

Coming from a country (Liberia) where majority of the population is highly dependent on the natural environment and its resources, it is challenging to achieve conservation. Notwithstanding, Olivia is still confident that this feat can be accomplished, through the holistic efforts of everyone, specifically young people. In pursuit of this, Olivia serves as an intern at Conservation International Liberia, and is the President of the Liberian Young Conservationists Leadership program where she inspires over twenty-five young people to take the lead in conserving the natural environment. Olivia is also presently the President of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance Chapter, Cuttington University, the Captain of the University’s Debate Society and the Representative of the University’s Department of Environmental Science. 

Olivia is also a Peace Advocate, she volunteers at Messengers of Peace Liberia. Additionally, she is a humanitarian and believes that giving back to the world is one of the best things that a person can ever do. 

Click here to read Olivia's latest blog!

Olivia Taylor
South Africa

Member since 2018

Olivia Taylor is a 20-year-old Political Science & Philosophy student from South Africa. She is the CEO and founder of Four Elements Conservation NPC, an environmental organization raising awareness and funding for environmental issues through innovative projects and youth development.

Olivia’s conservation journey started a decade ago, when she was first exposed to birding which led her, at age 12, to begin fundraising for conservation initiatives such as the Bearded Vulture Project. Over time, her love for the ocean grew, beginning after her first experience free diving with Tiger sharks.

You can learn more about Olivia by visitng her website, or checking out her organization at

Click here to read Olivia 's latest blog!

Patricia Zanella

Member since 2018

Patricia Zanella is 21 years old and lives in the historic coastal city Itanhaém, Brazil. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in International Relations and has been a member of the NGO, Ecosurf, since 2014. At Ecosurf, Patricia acts as an international institutional representative, facilitating the communication of Ecosurf with other institutions around the world to promote actions to protect the oceans. In 2018, she will start her Master's Degree in International Law focusing in International Environmental Law to understand the legal instruments that can help protect the oceans. Patricia’s passion for the sea, the environment, and all life present on earth encouraged her to make the ethical decision to stop consuming anything of animal origin. In her free time, Patricia is dedicated to disseminating a simpler life with less consumption through her website about sustainable fashion and conscious consumption.

Click here to read Patricia's latest blog!

Portsea Turton

Portsea Turton is 17 years old and has been fortunate to grow up on the coast of Australia. Portsea developed a love for the ocean beginning in her childhood where she spent her days snorkeling, boating and camping. Her eagerness to enjoy the ocean has led to an awareness of its dynamic changing. Compared to many countries in the world that unfortunately do not have the resources and social construct surrounding the importance of ocean sustainability, Australian waters are in a pristine state. Portsea reflects that despite this, the amount of pollution and biodiversity in her local area alone has had notable changes since the time she first went diving. Holding her home close to her heart, she has noticed the severity of the issue - which has filled her with a drive to change the future of our ocean.  

Portsea works as part of The Seabin Project teamwhere she has been able to see firsthand the severity of issues like plastic pollution and its devastating effects on local and global communities. To continue her journey of learning and understanding she is going to study Marine Science at James Cook University in 2019.  

For Portsea, the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council seems like the perfect platform to take this passion to the next level. Portsea believes that she can finally stop talking about making a difference and start making sustainability happen.

Click here to read Portsea's latest blog!

Rebecca Loy

Rebecca is from the island of Singapore and has had the privilege of growing up next to the Coral Triangle. For as long as she can remember, she has been passionate about conserving the marine world and reconnecting people with the ocean. She has been a volunteer with her country’s National Parks Board for a number of years, and was also an intern in the Board’s Coastal and Marine DepartmentThis involved setting up a gallery to promote the newly established Sister’s Islands Marine Park and assisting with a sea turtle conservation project. The Board later awarded her a scholarship to pursue a degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, and she is now in the second year of her degree. 


Rebecca was one of the founding members of the University’s Marine Conservation Society. This society is set up to raise awareness of the threats the marine world is facing and to take action for ocean conservation. In June 2018, the Society organized the inaugural celebration of World Oceans Day in Cambridge.  She has also interned with the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, supporting the organization’s work in the 2018 International Year of the Reef. Keen on bringing together community-led movement with sound conservation science, she has attended conferences such as the European Coral Reef Symposium and IOC-UNESCO Ocean Climate Conference to learn more about how this can be done. 


With a heart for coral reefs and coastal communities, she has been campaigning for action to be taken against climate change, which is severely affecting ocean life and will only continue to increase in its impact. At home in Singapore, she has taken part in beach clean-ups and has organized one on her own for the International Coastal Cleanup. She also advocates for the conservation of her country’s surroundings by organizing fundraising projects and speaking up about what can be done. In her University, she has been part of the Fossil Free movement and seeks to promote environmental justice and sustainability wherever possible.  


Aiming to protect the ocean as well as to experience as much of it as she can, Rebecca is happiest underwater with her fins and scuba maskShe is a PADI Rescue Diver and Reef Check Eco-Diver and has been involved with diving-related conservation projects in Singapore and Timor-Leste. She is constantly dreaming of ways to interact with the marine world in the most positive, low-impact manner possibleand is excited to bring this to the Council this year. 

Click here to read Rebecca's latest blog!

Rufai Balogun

Member since 2018

Rufai Balogun is a 4th year student of Meteorology and Climate Science at the Federal University of Technology in Akure, Nigeria. He has a growing passion for disaster risk management in cities, particularly on the impact to water stress and scarcity on human health. He participated in the Online Youth Exchange of Care About Climate, a platform where climate advocates and students across the world exchange ideas and teach and train each other on climate change advocacy. He also serves as a member of the International RYSE Youth Council where he provides insights and researches how to tackle the challenges of fracking, plastic pollution, and fossil fuel burning through the use of art, media, and advocacy. 

You can connect with Rufai on Facebook at

Click here to read Rufai's latest blog!

Shantana Barbe

Shantana Barbé age 23 years of age is one of the few Associate Fellow for the Royal Commonwealth Society from Seychelles.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws with the University of London (International Programme). 

Shantana is passionate about the ocean, youth inclusion and our planet in general.  In 2014 she registered a local chapter of an international youth-led NGO known as SYAH-Seychelles which she led as the President for two years. Through SYAH, Shantana has undertaken several projects such as organizing diving and snorkel sessions for young people, national competition on plastic pollution and sustainable development goals. In 2015 she was part of the all youth team who launch and led a two-year national campaign against single-use plastic bags in Seychelles which successfully resulted in a ban in 2017. She was also part of the team who helped create and launch the Blue Economy Internship programme in 2016 which today has impacted up to 100 youth.  In 2017, she represented her country in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany where she showed a special interest in events related to ocean conservation and sustainable use.  

By joining the Council, she hopes to work together with other youth and individuals to implement impactful projects and increase awareness, as well as being the voice for Small Island Developing States like her home country. Finally, she believes that the Council is a good platform to connect like-minded individuals just like the oceans connects us all. 

Click here to read Shantana's latest blog!

Sofia El-Rass

Member since 2018

Sofia El-Rass grew up by the Red Sea and spent almost every weekend exploring the tropical beaches and reefs so, naturally, the oceans and seas have had a significant influence on her life. Sofia enjoy using her creativity and hobbies to bring her closer to nature whether it's fiddling around with underwater photography while she dives or painting Bob-Ross-styled depictions of nature.

Her initiation into pursuing a career in conservation started around two years ago after signing up for her first volunteering program with a non-governmental organization which exposed her to Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean. Since then, Sofia has made conservation her number one priority as she has witnessed first-hand the devastating toll on our Earth due to climate change and careless actions.

This led her to embark on several experiences including an internship focused on the marine mammals of Portugal. She even became a regional ambassador for the organization behind the documentary Chasing Coral. Sofia also joined, and served a year of presidency for, her high school’s Global Issues Network club which helped her improve her activism through performing presentations on the problems our world faces. Through joining the Youth Advisory Council, Sofia hopes to continue her drive for positive change and help spread awareness on solutions to promote a more sustainable future.

Click here to read Sofia's latest blog!

Sophie Handford
New Zealand

Sophie Handford was born in Paekakariki, a small seaside village, 45km north of Wellington. The village is home to a diverse community which includes artists, musicians and passionate activists. Sophie attended a small school in the village and went on to Kāpiti College. At college, Sophie was involved with environmental activism groups and general service. In her final year, she was elected Head Girl. In 2018, Sophie co-organized an Environmental Summit for Youth in her region. She organized speakers and workshops which engaged students from across the area. Next year, she is a Youth Ambassador for World Vision and is part of the Wellington Forest & Bird Youth Council. She has a passion for changing the world for the better and getting as many people as possible involved to help out! Having grown up beside the sea, the sea water is in her blood. From her home, she can see Kapiti Island which has a marine reserve around it, protecting the sea life. Sophie is passionate about water quality and the creatures that live in our oceans.  

Click here to read Sophie's latest blog!

Summer Snell

Summer Snell is from Britains Ocean City of Plymouth, in the United Kingdom. She spent most of her childhood at various beaches around Cornwall where she was inspired by the unusual animals she found in rock pools. 

She started volunteering at the National Marine Aquarium - the UK's largest aquarium - two years ago. While working, she aims to teach visitors about marine life and show them how important individual actions can be. Through her volunteer work, Summer learned some incredible and downright strange facts about marine creatures which inspired her to become even more passionate about marine conservation. 

In her spare time summer enjoys spending her time by the coast, taking photographs and spending time with her family where she is frequently told by her sister to 'stop talking about fish'. Summer takes part in the #2minutebeachclean at every opportunity; her favourite discovery during a beach clean being a bag containing coins from all over the world. 

She hopes to encourage more local businesses to use plastic free alternatives and help make our world better, one step at a time. 

Click here to read Summer's latest blog!

Unelker Maoga

Unelker Maoga is a young Kenyan and Pan African student who believes that every generation has a mission to either fulfill or betray. He believes Ocean Conservation is a mission whose time has come. 

Having spent her teenage years in the coastal town of Mombasa, she desires to see coral reefs along East Africa’s coastline defy the odds and survive coral bleaching in the wake of climate change and extreme ocean acidification and pollution. Unelker has worked as a research volunteer with the Kenya Wildlife Service – Mombasa Marine Park and her blog article on Ocean Conservation won the East Africa Our Ocean Contest in 2016 from the US Embassy Regional Environment Office. 

With respect to life on land, Unelker is a BS Environmental Conservation student and the founder of Konservation, a community-based project that raises awareness about climate change in school platforms and works to increase access to clean and affordable energy technologies in rural homes in Kenya. 

Unelker is also the youngest member of the Green Belt Movement, 2016 Film4Climate Participant, 2018 Youth Climate Leader, WWF Africa Youth Awardee and has received mention as a UN Environment – Young Champion of the Earth. 


Click here to read Unelker's latest blog!

Wenqin Zhang

Member since 2018

Born in an inland province in China, the ocean has always been a symbol of purity and sanctity to Wenqin Zhang. She recalls being surprised the first time she went to a harbor in Shanghai. The water there was dirty and smelly and although many pictures of fish and birds living in the mouth of Yangtze River were displayed at the harbor, no trace of animal activity could be seen. That experience made Wenqin realize that people living there, including herself, know so little about marine conservation. She noticed a lack of courses being offered in school, limited news stories and videos in media, and too few resources in real life for people to learn about this issue. Wenqin also became concerned that many of the current efforts to address these problems weren’t occurring on an international scale. She is interested in finding ways that counties can collaborate on solutions and international organizations can work together more efficiently.

Wenqin is now earning her Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations at Fudan University in Shanghai. Her current studies have convinced her that one goal can be better achieved when governments work together. She believes the same goes for organizations and even individuals. As a member of the Youth Advisory Council, Wenqin will try her best to be a messenger to promote cooperation and work with other members to get more people involved in the action! 

Click here to read Wenqin's latest blog!

Yusuf Kavuma

Kavuma Yusuf originates from the Butambala district in Uganda. After completing primary school and passing the national exams with distinction, he was granted the MasterCard Foundation scholarship that enabled him to continue on to secondary school at Olympio High School Nsangi. He is currently enrolled at Gombe Secondary School Butambala. 

His leadership experience started in primary school and he has held five leadership positions to date. In addition to these positions, Yusuf established the KIRANGA Foundation and leaders fellow students volunteers through this initiative. He has been nurtured into an ethical, integral and transformative leader through the programs organized by the MasterCard Foundation scholar program. Volunteering at several nonprofit institutions has made him discover the joy in giving back.

Click here to read Yusuf's latest blog!