Sea youth rise up

The 2017 Sea Youth Rise Up delegation unites an outstanding group of seven young conservation leaders working to improve the health of the ocean and empower others to do the same. Taking action to address diverse marine conservation challenges, these young people remind us of the important role youth leadership plays in the ocean conservation field and inspire all of us to renew our dedication to protecting our blue planet.


Youth Voices

Keyla Corriea

Co-Founder Plastic Free Mermaids

I am an eighteen year that co-founded a worldwide known organization known as the Plastic Free Mermaids whose mission is to spread awareness about Plastic Pollution through education, outreaches, cleanups, and political advocacy. We also educate how to live a Plastic Free Lifestyle and partner with organizations around the world to spread our message about eliminating Plastic Pollution. I have started Plastic Free Mermaids Chapters in Botswana and in South Florida where these chapters are getting students engaged in making their schools Plastic Free, hosting their own cleanups, speaking to local legislators, and actively living a Plastic Free Lifestyle. I have been on radios shows and a speaker at multiple summits, such as the Breaking Down Plastic Summit and the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, where I am able to talk about the Plastic Free Mermaids and be an inspiration to others to encourage them to make positive changes in their communities. I have brought international students from Zambia, Botswana, and Lebanon to South Florida where I was able to talk to them about how they dispose of plastic, compare and help implement those ideas, and visit my high school to interact with students that shares their passion on environmental and Ocean Conservation.



Abirami Kimsuka Subramanian

Heirs to Our Oceans

My name is Abirami Subramanian and I am 10 years old. I am a part of a group of 17 kids, aged 10-13 called Heirs to our Oceans and my area of focus is Cetaceans particularly Dolphins and Porpoises.

My love of the ocean began by sitting next to my brother as he studied fishes. We also made frequent visits to a beach and the Monterey Bay aquarium. I was taken in by the different exhibits there and loved to explore the place. First, I was particularly drawn to otters since they were cute and smart. I loved watching them frolic around underwater and come very close to the glass. I would put my hand out to touch them, only to touch a layer of glass. You really feel like touching them, especially the otter pups who are so fuzzy. My love for the otters will forever continue.

For some animals, I have a very strong sense of protection. Otters are one of them. And because I love them, I want to protect them. As time went by, I learned more about the ocean including a documentary about the Japanese fish market. I also learned about the human threats facing the oceans. While learning about the threats. I realized that animals are in danger and need a voice. I want to be their voice.I also became interested in all marine mammals and especially cetaceans (which include Dolphins, Porpoises, Whales, and the majestic Orcas).

I chose to study Dolphins because they have a similar nature to Otters I used to see in Monterey Bay aquarium when i was younger.  Dolphins are smart and happy.  They belong with their family and friends in the ocean. 



Helen Zhao

WCS Student Delegate

Helen Zhao, age 18, started volunteering at Central Park Zoo two years ago as a Discovery Guide where discovers her love for conservation. She was a part of her school's sustainability club and student government for many years where she strongly advocated for recycling and building a living wall in the school hallway. Helen will be attending New York University in the fall as a International Business student. In her free time, Helen enjoys playing volleyball and running.

Max Roberts

Video Submission Winner

I am a rising senior at Newark Charter High School in Newark Delaware. I harbor an extreme passion for protecting our worlds oceans, and specifically enjoy studying greenhouse gas emissions and plastic pollution. I participate in the Chesapeake Bay Bowl annually, and love giving back to my community weather it be by organizing beach cleanups, or participating in a horseshoe crab census. Above all else I want to bring attention to the state of our ocean, and what we as a whole can do to reverse some of the damage done.


Nora Abdiruhman

National Aquarium

Nora Abdiruhman is a junior currently attending Western High School in Baltimore, MD. She was born and raised in Baltimore and lived on the Virgin Island of St. Croix for several years as a child. She is currently in her third year of an after-school program called AOW (Aquarium on Wheels) that is a part of the National Aquarium in Baltimore. This year Nora is a director of the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit in Baltimore. The summit’s focus will be ocean health and what participants can do to maintain a healthy ocean. She has also been a part of the aquarium’s Henry Hall Summer Program for 5 years. This coming year will be her sixth year with the program. She has attended both MAYA! and the YOCS Conservation Summit, at Yale University and Capitol Hill. Nora has also attended and assisted in multiple robotics competitions with her school’s robotics team. She has also re-implemented the MSA (Muslim student association) at her school in hopes of connecting the Muslim community and educating her peers on what life is like as an African American Muslim woman in society today. She has two sisters and one brother, and is the proud owner of two tabby cats, (one grey and one orange). In her spare time Nora enjoys rock climbing, bike riding, and reading.


Hannah Testa

Hannah is a 14-year-old honors student who is passionate about animals and environmental issues affecting wildlife.  From kindergarten she has utilized her leadership skills to influence others, and has truly become a voice for those that do not have a voice, including rhinos, elephants, horses, bears, dolphins, and orcas.  Hannah has presented to thousands of adults and children across the world - as well as local, state, and international government officials - on practical ways residents can reduce their plastic footprint to help our oceans.  Hannah also conceived and spearheaded Plastic Pollution Awareness Day in Georgia, the first event of its kind in the world.  Through awareness, she believes that knowledge is power and that each of us can influence positive change in this world.