The Youth Environmental Leadership Program is now in its second year at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, working to inspire adolescents ages 13 to 16 on the aquatic world around them. Rather than us tell you how great this new program is, we asked one of our recent participants, Isaac, age 13, to share his feedback:

During spring break I had the pleasure of participating in the Youth Environmental Leadership Program program at the Vancouver Aquarium. It was an amazing experience and one of the best weeks of my life! During the program we did and learned a lot of fun and interesting things.

Youth Environmental Leadership Program Vancouver Aquarium

Isaac, right, examines marine debris found on Stanley Park shorelines.

One thing we did was a beach cleanup around Stanley Park. We walked along the beach for a couple hours exploring the ecosystems along the beach. We picked up the garbage that was along the shore and there was A LOT! It was so shocking and sad to see how much garbage there was along the beach in these animals’ homes. It felt good to know that we were helping to make a difference.

There were also some amazing guest speakers and presentations. I learned about climate change and issues our planet faces today. These presentations and speeches were very eye opening and made me realize that every little bit makes a difference for our planet and oceans. Even just getting to spend time in the galleries was great, getting to know the animals and their stories, names and habits. Last but not least I liked the Wet Lab. There we learned about different sea creatures in our ecosystem like sea urchins, hermit crabs, anemones and much more. We got to see them up close and even touch them. In the Wet Lab we also got to dissect herring, squid, and clams which was very cool and unlike anything I have done before.

Youth Environmental Leadership Program Vancouver Aquarium

Isaac, middle, dissects a squid in the Aquarium Wet Lab.

The Youth Environmental Leadership Program really inspired me to make a difference and be a part of the change to preserve our planet and oceans. This year I am going to be participating in an Australian based event I heard about at the camp called “Plastic Free July.” For the whole month of July I will not be using any single use plastics. I am very excited for the challenge because it will cause me to be creative in ways to avoid these single use plastics we use daily, which I can then educate my family and friends on. I am also working hard to raise money to take part in a sea turtle conservation camp in Costa Rica, this way I can further my knowledge and work towards my dream of getting sea turtles off the endangered species list. (Learn more about Isaac’s dream of helping sea turtles at his go fund me campaign)

When I finish school I plan to further my education in marine biology and the Aquarium Youth Environmental Leadership Program has given me even more reasons why I want to continue to work towards my goals. I will remember my experiences at the Vancouver Aquarium, and the people I met through the Youth Environmental Leadership Program forever.

Thank you, Isaac, for your thoughtful feedback.

Are you between the ages of 13 to 16 and looking to learn more about the aquatic world and ecosystems around you? Learn more about our Youth Environmental Leadership Program now open for summer registration: vanaqua.org/learn/camps/aquacamps.

Fndtn LogoThis year’s Youth Environmental Leadership Program is being suppported by the generous funding of the Recreation Foundation of British Columbia. 

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