Meet the dynamic young people between the ages of 16-19 who were selected to participate in the 2018 Sea Youth Rise Up initiative in Washington, DC. These individuals have demonstrated their passion for the ocean and have taken real action in their local communities to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our blue planet. 

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Newark, Delaware

VYSHNAVI KOSIGISHROFF

Vyshnavi Kosigishroff is an environmental activist from Newark, Delaware.  She has been pursuing her environmental efforts for quite a while. In her first year of high school, she created her school’s first Environmental Club. As president of this club, she created a comprehensive school-wide recycling program to fill the vacuum of sustainable disposal. Since then, she has pursued a wide array of green legislation generally focused on promoting climate change-fighting measures. In its inaugural year, she created and led her state’s March for Science, a satellite march of the international March for Science, a protest advocating for evidence-based policy. This march was attended by Senate Environmental Committee Ranking Member Senator Tom Carper, among other politicians, activists, entrepreneurs, and teachers. Through her leadership, she used the March to mobilize her community against the  travesty of climate change. She is currently working on amending her state’s constitution to include a Green Amendment (a legislative guarantee of the right to clean air, clean water, and a sustainable environment) and on reducing plastic reliance through grassroots connections and legislation. She recently joined ThinkOcean, an environmental advocacy group as Regional Coordinator for Pennsylvania. Apart from organizing clean-ups and protests, she enjoys Model UN, writing music, and listening to podcasts. She will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in fall 2018.


Lynbrook, New York

KAI BEATTIE

Kai Beattie, a passionate 17-year-old, first became interested in ocean conservation after diving in the US Virgin Islands, where he fell in love with SCUBA diving and coral reefs. Within his own community, he has founded the local marine conservation club, organized beach cleanups, and plans to install water bottle friendly fountains at his high school. Kai wishes to pursue a major in marine biology and conservation, and believes scientific research is vital in preserving the natural beauty of our oceans. He is a citizen scientist of the Coral Restoration Foundation and has monitored the health of out-planted coral colonies in Key Largo, Florida. He is also interested in cancer research and works as a volunteer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City over the summer. In his free time, he enjoys listening to science podcasts, building fish tanks, and watching ocean documentaries like Chasing Coral and Blue Planet II. In the future, Kai hopes that he can contribute to ocean conservation so that future generations can continue to appreciate the beauty and complexity of marine ecosystems and wildlife.


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Seattle, Washington

ANNIE MEANS

Annie Means is a senior at West Seattle High School. She has lived in Seattle for her entire life and spent her childhood boating, swimming, and paddling on the Puget Sound. Annie has had a long past with ocean conservation and has a profound respect and love for the sea. In addition to hosting numerous beach cleanups with her high school earth club, she has served as a Youth Ocean Advocate at the Seattle aquarium and as a student speaker at the 2016 and 2017 Seattle Youth Ocean Conservation Summits. In efforts to tackle marine debris on her local Seattle beaches, Annie created a blog to address the issue in her community(https://recyclingonseattlewaterfronts.tumblr.com/) and collaborated with the Seattle Parks Department to install recycling bins in several waterfront parks throughout the western portion of her city. She is incredibly excited to be a part of the Sea Youth Rise Up team, and is looking forward to pursuing environmental conservation in the future.


Baltimore, maryland

DARREA FRAZIER

Homeschooled all her life and dual-enrolled at the Community College of Baltimore County and the Baltimore Academy of Illustration, Darrea Frazier is an award-winning Artist who uses her Illustrations to educate youth in Environmental responsibility and accountability. She is a   former member of the Walters Art Museum's Teen Art's Council (WAMTAC) which bridges Teens and their communities to the Arts. She recently stepped down to graduate high school at 16 and pursue her passion of Drawing and Environmental Education with the goal of attending MICA or Tufts University early as a transfer student. 

Darrea is also an award-winning Environmental Educator with Patterson Park Audubon Center and has been involved in various Environmental action since the age of nine. She was voted the Baltimore Bird Club's Youth Birder in 2015. She has worked as co-facilitator for Green Leaders, Winging It in Baltimore, and Chesapeake Adventures, all concerned with the environmental education of youth ages pre-k to 8th grade. She is the recipient of the 2018 Chesapeake Bay Trust's Honorable Arthur Dorman Award and Scholarship for Outstanding Student of Color creating progress in Natural Resources. She is a first-year student of the National Aquarium in Baltimore's Aquarium on Wheels work-study. Darrea is the six-time National American Miss Maryland Finalist and three-time National Finalist whose platform is Environmental Integrity. At National American Miss Maryland Junior Teen 2017, Darrea received the Heart of Service Award which recognizes the Contestant with the most community service hours. 

Darrea has two big brothers, Devon and Devereaux. She and her mom Rosia, a Maryland Master Naturalist, often volunteer together and together adopted Midnight, their adorable black cat.  


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Santa cruz, California

RUBY RORTY

Ruby Rorty is an environmental educator and advocate from Santa Cruz, CA, where she grew up in and around the Pacific Ocean. At 14, she founded the Santa Cruz Environmental Alliance, a youth-led organization with the goal of empowering young people in the Bay Area as ocean defenders capable of addressing coastal plastic pollution.

Since then, she has written and instituted the Trashtastic! curriculum for grades 3-5, founded the #nomoremermaids campaign against plastic, and worked with middle schoolers to create social media internship opportunities. Although she continues to work locally, Ruby has now joined the international conservation community as a youth leader for EarthEcho International, a board member for Climate Sports Student Summits with the Green Sports Alliance, and a public speaker on youth, justice, and the environment at events around the country. She will attend the University of Chicago starting next fall. There, she plans to study journalism, public policy, and economics, all in the context of environmental change and sustainability.


st augustine, Florida

MADISON TOONDER

Madison is an 11th grader from Florida who attends Stanford University Online High School. She aspires to be an exotic or marine animal veterinarian with a focus on conservation of endangered species. In the pursuit of this career, she conducts comparative research on the sea turtle, oyster, and alligator with scientists across the world and presents her work on multiple platforms.  She has been named second in the nation in STEM mathematics by the Broadcom Foundation for her environmental oyster data and was recognized by NOAA for “Taking the Pulse of the Planet.”  In addition, she was a recipient of the 2016 SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Environmental Excellence Award and serves on the SWBG Youth Advisory Council as Co-Chair of the Conservation Committee.  Recently, her abstract has been accepted by the International Wildlife and Disease Association Conference, where she will present her research to wildlife health, conservation, and management experts and practitioners.  

At Stanford University OHS, Madison founded and leads the Pre-Veterinary Club in order to connect aspiring veterinarians and encourage conservation. In her free time, she volunteers at a veterinary hospital where she assists in patient diagnosis, care, and surgery.  Madison also interns at Brevard Zoo as a zoo teen and conservation representative, routinely handling exotic animals and educating guests. She is constantly expanding the reach of her conservation message by speaking at numerous environmental awareness events and writing conservation blogs.  Her work has been included in National Geographic's "Changing the World" blog, Brevard Zoo’s "Youth Environmental Summit", and the Smithsonian-sponsored GTM NERR “State of the Reserve” annual event.  She is the recipient of a research grant from the Explorer's Club."

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North andover, massachusetts

JACOB GARLAND

Jacob Garland, a 15 year old high school student from Massachusetts, looks to make a difference in the world of conservation through education. A passion that started three years ago in a routine trip to New York has since flourished into a multitude of different endeavors, from the creation of his own environmental blog (www.workingtosave.com) to working as president with both high school students and middle school students in his school’s environmental club. Currently, he’s trying to not only to expand his outreach through social media and his website but working within his school (and their Carbon Footprint Committee) to reinstate a large-scale gardening program, improving the school’s outlook on conservation. Outside of environmental protection, he enjoys playing clarinet and violin, reading, playing video games, and speed solving Rubik's cubes. He hopes to use these passions, particularly those that relate to the environment, in order to change the way we act and think when it comes to protecting the health of our incredible planet.