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Young People Will Assess Ocean Health in Regional Summit

Oct. 3, 2007 — Forty young people will work to improve the health of the aquatic world in the 2007 Youth Summit on the Oceans: Virgin Islands Future Leaders Turning the Tide.
The summit, sponsored by the St Croix Ocean Conservancy, will take place Oct. 25 to 30 on St. John and St. Thomas.
"With this summit we hope to inspire, equip and empower youth to have a voice in our community," said Nicholas Drayton, ecosystems project director for Ocean Conservancy Caribbean.
The Ocean Conservancy strives to be the world's foremost advocate for the oceans, according to its website, oceanconservancy.org. Through science-based advocacy, research and public education, the agency works to inform, inspire and empower people to speak and act for the oceans.
The summit, the first ever of its sort, will include high school seniors and young professionals in the territory interested in improving the health of the ocean and their lives on land. The premise of the summit is that the future of the oceans is important for these young people, because they will live with environmental and cultural decisions made today concerning the oceans.
More than 75 young people went through an application process answering questions such as: "What do you hope to gain from the summit? What are your five top concerns about the marine environment? Why do you think you would be a good candidate for the summit?"
"The selection committee was impressed with the level of competence, passion and love for the environment shown by the applicants," Drayton said, " It was hard narrowing it down to only 40 youth."
The selection committee has chosen 14 young people from St. Croix and 12 from St. John and St. Thomas. There will also be 12 participants from the British Virgin Islands and two ambassadors from the Gulf of Mexico.
The participants will take part in hands-on projects at the V.I. Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) at Lameshur Bay on St. John. They will do an underwater tour in the Atlantis submarine led by Rick Nemeth, head of the center for marine environmental studies at the University of the Virgin Islands. Socioeconomic data will be collected in a survey done at Coral Bay on St. John. Also included in the summit will be tours of the British Virgin Islands and its marine-protected areas, comparing them to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Workshop sessions will take place at Bolongo Bay Resort, St. Thomas. There will be formal presentations, small group discussions and problem solving. Think-tank sessions will focus on strategies to address issues of concern, such as marine conservation. The end of the summit will see a set of resolutions presented to the governments of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
Agencies collaborating with the youth summit include the Coastal Zone Management Division of the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources, UVI Marine Advisory Service, the office of Delegate Donna M. Christensen and the Junior Gardening and Ecology Academy.
The local office of the Ocean Conservancy on St. Croix is part of the national organization in Washington D.C. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant-funding program helped to finance the summit.
"We are trying to raise funds for post summit so the enthusiasm will not be lost," Drayton said. "This is going to be an ongoing effort."
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Oct. 3, 2007 -- Forty young people will work to improve the health of the aquatic world in the 2007 Youth Summit on the Oceans: Virgin Islands Future Leaders Turning the Tide.
The summit, sponsored by the St Croix Ocean Conservancy, will take place Oct. 25 to 30 on St. John and St. Thomas.
"With this summit we hope to inspire, equip and empower youth to have a voice in our community," said Nicholas Drayton, ecosystems project director for Ocean Conservancy Caribbean.
The Ocean Conservancy strives to be the world's foremost advocate for the oceans, according to its website, oceanconservancy.org. Through science-based advocacy, research and public education, the agency works to inform, inspire and empower people to speak and act for the oceans.
The summit, the first ever of its sort, will include high school seniors and young professionals in the territory interested in improving the health of the ocean and their lives on land. The premise of the summit is that the future of the oceans is important for these young people, because they will live with environmental and cultural decisions made today concerning the oceans.
More than 75 young people went through an application process answering questions such as: "What do you hope to gain from the summit? What are your five top concerns about the marine environment? Why do you think you would be a good candidate for the summit?"
"The selection committee was impressed with the level of competence, passion and love for the environment shown by the applicants," Drayton said, " It was hard narrowing it down to only 40 youth."
The selection committee has chosen 14 young people from St. Croix and 12 from St. John and St. Thomas. There will also be 12 participants from the British Virgin Islands and two ambassadors from the Gulf of Mexico.
The participants will take part in hands-on projects at the V.I. Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) at Lameshur Bay on St. John. They will do an underwater tour in the Atlantis submarine led by Rick Nemeth, head of the center for marine environmental studies at the University of the Virgin Islands. Socioeconomic data will be collected in a survey done at Coral Bay on St. John. Also included in the summit will be tours of the British Virgin Islands and its marine-protected areas, comparing them to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Workshop sessions will take place at Bolongo Bay Resort, St. Thomas. There will be formal presentations, small group discussions and problem solving. Think-tank sessions will focus on strategies to address issues of concern, such as marine conservation. The end of the summit will see a set of resolutions presented to the governments of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
Agencies collaborating with the youth summit include the Coastal Zone Management Division of the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources, UVI Marine Advisory Service, the office of Delegate Donna M. Christensen and the Junior Gardening and Ecology Academy.
The local office of the Ocean Conservancy on St. Croix is part of the national organization in Washington D.C. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant-funding program helped to finance the summit.
"We are trying to raise funds for post summit so the enthusiasm will not be lost," Drayton said. "This is going to be an ongoing effort."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.