Blue Hatchling of the Year Finalists:
Award Recipient - Ryan Moralevitz - Palm Harbor, Florida
Growing up in Florida, Ryan was fascinated by the ocean. At age 3 he would explore the local beaches during low tide, mesmerized by the sea creatures he would find.
At four, Ryan began to read ocean themed books. One book in particular had a profound impact on him, as it outlined the detrimental effect trash had on our ocean and its creatures. As a result Ryan began bringing a bag with him each time he would visit the beach so he could pick up any trash. During one of these beach cleanups, Ryan saw a tire being rolled directly into the ocean.
This experience was the catalyst that began his conservation project, The Fishes Wishes, and also inspired his first book, entitled "Puffy the Puffer Fish Saves the Ocean." The goal of his project is to bring awareness to the issues that are negatively impacting the oceans and raising money to donate towards its conservation.
Throughout the past ten years, Ryan has organized and participated in numerous beach cleanups, sea oat plantings and mangrove plantings. He has also raised over $12,000.00 in a variety of fundraisers as well as through the sales of his ocean themed magnets and suncatchers.
Ryan has also been inspired to make sculptures utilizing the trash he collects on the beach. Additionally he has been invited to show his artwork at several galleries throughout Florida. He loves using art to bring awareness to the problem of pollution in our waters, while repurposing trash that would otherwise despoil our oceans.
Ryan is currently writing his second book titled InspirOCEAN which will be available in October of 2021. During the writing of his book, Ryan was incredibly blessed to interview an array of famous athletes, artists and musicians that are also passionate ocean conservationists. He did this in an effort to emphasize the importance of keeping our oceans clean.
I'm honored to nominate Ryan Moralevitz for the 2021 Go Blue Awards Blue Hatchling Youth Award. I first met Ryan when he was just five years old through the annual Youth Ocean Conservation Summit I run in collaboration with Mote Marine Laboratory. Through his winning submission in our annual film festival, and our first interactions, Ryan's passion for protecting our ocean planet and its inhabitants immediately stood out to me. Over the past 10 years, it has been an incredible journey to watch Ryan turn his passion for the ocean into a powerful force for good, directly educating and inspiring other young conservation advocates around the world while driving restoration, education, fundraising, and advocacy work through his organization The Fishes Wishes.
Over the years, building on his Fishes Wishes platform, Ryan has organized cleanups, mangrove and dune restoration projects, and educational events for Global Youth Service Day, impacting the local marine environment on Florida's Gulf Coast while providing an avenue for his peers to engage in conservation work. Through the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, Ryan has been awarded a variety of grants to support his efforts, and our grantee review team is always impressed by his outstanding impact and the continued expansion of his work.
Ryan's selfless focus on supporting the ocean conservation causes and organizations he's connected with throughout his work is inspiring. By partnering with local businesses, organizing an auction fundraiser, selling ornaments/magnets and his book, "Puffy the Pufferfish Save the Ocean", Ryan has raised over $3,000 which he has donated to support conservation organizations including our work with the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, the University of South Florida's Marine Biology Camp, and the Ocean Conservancy. Ryan has also led outstanding work to reach new and nontraditional audiences with ocean conservation messages. Through the creation of innovative marine debris sculptures which have been displayed at local businesses, restaurants, and even the Superbowl, Ryan has greatly expanded the reach of his work.
In my experience with thousands of young ocean leaders around the world, Ryan's work stands out to me for his steadfast dedication to creating tangible, sustainable ocean conservation impact. His enthusiasm, hard work, innovation, and passion are perfectly aligned with the vision of Loggerhead Marinelife Center's Go Blue Awards, and I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for this year's Blue Hatchling Youth Award. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Thank you!
Annual Participation from 2006-2018
(These are events Ryan has participated anually since 2006)
- Annual participation in the Stow It-Don't Throw It Film Competition and Summit. Ryan has submitted a film every year for the last 6-years to raise awareness on the dangers of pollution and the effects it can have on the ocean. His films also address positive ways people can help to keep the beaches clean. At the summit Ryan has spoken 3 years to talk about the work he does to help the ocean in hopes that he can inspire other young people to want to help too.
- Every year on Global Youth Service Day, Ryan has done a presentation in front of his classmates. He speaks about the dangers of plastic, how to reduce, reuse and recycle, skip the straw and the amount of time items take to decompose once they are out into the waterways. In addition, he has made monofilament fishing line disposal tubes with his friends on GYSD to show how their impact on the environment can be reduced.
- Selling keychains, ornaments and magnets have been a large part of his fundraising efforts. Ryan goes to local craft fairs, the school charitable craft show and stores where he sells the marine friendly products which he and his friends and family make. All of the profits that he makes is donated to ocean conservation. He also sells the book he wrote, Puffy the Pufferfish Saves the Ocean, and all of the money from the sales is also donated to conservation.
- Organized several family-based trash cleanups and brought a bag with him to the local beach every time to pick up trash.
- Started The Fishes Wishes organization to help the sea creatures.
- Organized a large trash cleanup and invited his family, classmates and teachers in addition he recruited 15 volunteers which resulted in over 30 lbs of trash being removed from our local beach.
- Wrote a book titled, Puffy the Pufferfish Saves the Ocean and had it printed at our local printing company to sell.
- Was invited to visit the Ocean Conservancy in Washington DC and speak about the work he does with his organization.
- Received a grant from Youth Service America and used it to purchase and plant 2000 sea oats at our local beach that had suffered serious sand loss from storms.
- Organized another large cleanup and invited friends, friends of friends and family along with 20 additional volunteers which resulted in about 45 lbs of trash being cleaned from our local beach.
- Spoke about his work at a philanthropy event in South Florida with the Ocean Conservancy.
- Organized another successful beach cleanup with only family and friends.
- Did a book signing at Honeymoon Island Nature Center and donated the money earned towards conservation.
- Received a grant from the Stow It-Don't Throw It Project for a mangrove garden. He asked his classmates to help and they built a large crab out of discarded plastic toys and pieces to decorate the garden.
- Spoke about his work at the San Francisco Children's Creativity Museum in association with the International Eco Hero Awards.
- Was interviewed about how he helps the ocean by Animal Tales magazine.
- Planted the sprouted mangroves from the school garden at Honeymoon Island.
- Ryan planned and ran a week of ocean conservation summer camp at his school.
- Following the camp Ryan held an online auction and raised $2,000.00 which he donated to the Stow It-Don't Throw It Project.
- Ryan was asked to do a book signing at our local Barnes and Noble February 2018 and the money raised at that event was donated to the USF Marine Biology Camp.
- He spoke at
- Ryan Started making sculptures out of beach trash
- A local restaurant held a sculpture unveiling in March on 2019 and he raised $1,200.00 to donate to ocean conservation.
- He started working on his second book in 2019 and completed it in 2020.
- After having an idea to make his book geared to both younger and older kids as well as teachers. He began calling and emailing ocean conservationists, artists and authors asking if they would participate in his second book and then he interviewed each participant.
- He completed several more sculptures and is currently making a turtle as a thank you to the restaurant that held his unveiling fundraiser.
- Ryan is currently continuing to make sculptures.
- He cleans the local beaches several times a month.
- He completed his book and is now looking for a publisher. He will self-publish if he isn't able to find one and says he will work really hard to sell his books and plushy so he can donate a lot of money to ocean conservation.
He is planning his ten year celebration in February of 2021 and though he hasn't finalized his ideas yet he is sure he wants to organize a large cleanup.
Ella Grace Galaski-Rossen / Cash Daniels - Chatanooga, Tennessee
I am honored and thrilled to nominate the incredible youth duo, Ella Grace Galaski-Rossen and Cash Daniels, who are together known as "THE CLEANUP KIDS". Ella and Cash exemplify the spirit of conservation, not only in how they talk to educate others about the importance of preserving our oceans, but even more so by how they lead by example with their actions. Ella and Cash collectively have cleaned up thousands of pounds of trash from our waterways.
Although neither of them live on the ocean, they understand that if they clean up the trash upstream, that they are effectively preventing that trash from entering the oceans, and in turn injuring or killing our precious marine life. Together, after attending Ocean Heroes Bootcamp decided they would start a campaign to protect the waterways from discarded fishing line.
They have installed more than 20 monofilament receptacles along the river, to prevent the fishing line from ending up in the water as a threat to nature. I have personally taken both kids diving, and seen the passion for nature that they both have. The Cleanup Kids have started what they like to call a "tidal wave of change", and are actively recruiting other kids to join their cause and sign up to run cleanups and plastic audits in their own towns.
Their goal is to be able to clean up an impressive 1 million pieces of trash, and I am thrilled to say they are well on their way. The Cleanup Kids have helped on several conservation campaigns that I have run, from the land based fishing campaign, to the "save the Goliath Grouper" to the Red Tide campaigns. They were both also active voices in the campaigns to help pass the cetacean anti-captivity bill, as well as the Shark fin import/export ban in Canada.
The kids research, write and produce a weekly video series to help educate other kids about the importance of acting now to protect our oceans. Both kids are accomplished public speakers, speaking in settings from Sea Shepherd gala events, to schools, Girl/Boy Scouts and even to the elder generations in retirement homes, as well as being features in several conservation documentaries.
Their passion for reducing single use plastic, eating vegan for the planet, and their relentless drive to educate, act, and make the planet a better place is nothing less than heroic. They are THE conservation leaders of their generation, and I am so incredibly grateful to be a mentor to them both, as well as call them both my friends.
I proudly and whole heartedly nominate Ella and Cash for this years Blue Hatchling award. I can't imagine a better choice than these two dedicated youth, who I am confident, together WILL change the world for the better.
• Founders of a non-profit, leading fundraising campaigns to give back to Ocean Conservation with over $13,000 donated to date. This has also enabled participation and partnerships with direct action conservation efforts such as, but not limited to, adopting Super Corals in French Polynesia, symbolically adopting sea turtles, and working together to make sustainable jewelry with proceeds going to ocean conservation partners.
• Ambassadors for Stream2Sea, Nakawe Project (closed Hook ambassador for Shark Conservation and awareness for Long Lines), 4Ocean, AnimalStone, Shelby Reef, FishGods, Barrel Bag and the UN 17 Goals to Transform the World.
• Extensive experience with volunteering, heading up cleanup efforts around the US and Canada with over 15,000 pounds of trash removed from shorelines along the ocean and rivers. This poundage does not include efforts in which we partnered with other groups such as 4Ocean, Living Lands and Waters, Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful, Keep America Beautiful and Sea Shepherd on cleanups for a more widescale effort.
• Recycling program leaders focusing on aluminum while educating people to refuse plastics due to their harmful effects on our environment. 10,000 pounds of aluminum has now been recycled from local businesses as well as community partners.
• Public speakers who have spoken at state, and national events, including but not limited to: Sea Shepherd, Tennessee Recycling Coalition, The Kelly Clarkson Show as well as city and state government offices. In addition, hosted Zoom presentations with Nakawe Project, National Geographic photographers Jim Abernethy and Filipe DeAndrade as well as sea turtle biologist Christine Figgener and several schools globally.
• Spearheading campaigns to tackle fishing line along rivers and coastlines to reduce risk of animal entanglement. We have placed 20 monofilament receptacles to date with funding from grants awarded by the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit as well as Ocean Heroes Bootcamp.
• YouTube creators raising awareness for our oceans, climate change, wild places and natural areas with conservation focused videos written, edited and filmed by kids, for kids.
• Attended several conservation-focused camps and seminars including Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, Earth Echo summit and Youth Ocean Conservation Summit. As well as being members of The Wayfinder's Society which brings attention and promotes action for ocean conservation
• Participate in Climate Strike and Global calls to action for Climate change as well as Empty the Tank advocates and helped pass Canadian Bill S-203 to ban the captivity and breeding of Cetaceans in Canada. Secured Proclamations from local government regarding watershed protection.
• Authored and illustrated "One Small Piece" which tells the story of how plastic inspired one kid to change the world, one small piece at a time. More books are planned all with a conservation focus.
2021 Youth Making Ripples film competition winner for Middle/Elementary School.
2021 UN Decade for Sustainable Development film award.
2021 Prudential Spirit of Community National Honoree. This award is given to the top 10
youth volunteers in the US with more than 26,000 applicants this year.
2019, 2020, 2021 Youth Conservationist of the Year with Tennessee Wildlife Federation.
Caden Stuermer - Clarence Center, New York
After watching Shark Week several years ago 13 year old Caden Stuermer became obsessed with saving sharks. He learned about how many sharks are killed each year for shark fin soup and other products. His family took a vacation in Florida when he was 11 and he was able to snorkel with sharks off the coast of Jupiter. Caden learned how important sharks are to the marine ecosystem and made it his mission to try to help raise awareness and protect them.
This incredible young man came up with the idea to create his own brand of wristbands which donates all proceeds to various organizations that save sharks. The metal wristbands are silver in color with black lettering that say "Save the Sharks" and "Stop finning" and also have little sharks on them.
Caden says "The reason I want to save sharks is because 100's of millions of sharks are killed every year for their fins and meat. They are going extinct and if we do nothing about it there will be no sharks left. It will be so sad without them 🙁 PLEASE help me to save sharks!!!!!!"
Please accept this nomination of Caden Stuermer for the 2021 Blue Hatchling of the Year.