Hope Spots Youth Page
The most important people to reach with the Hope Spots initiative are the youth. SST patron, Mission Blue founder and architect of the Hope Spots concept, Dr Sylvia Earle, refers to the youth as the most important in human history because within this sweet spot of time they are the last generation that can make a difference – what we do or do not do, principally the youth, will influence the environment forever. From now onwards the Sustainable Seas Trust is therefore paying particular attention to the youth by launching the South African Hope Spots Youth initiative.
Another very important aspect is the use of the Canon cameras, the book – South African Coasts - A celebration of our seas and shores – was very successful but is compiled mainly be people who have access to good cameras. To redress the issue, SST bought ten Canon cameras and took youth from the local schools to the rocky shores and taught them how to use the cameras and capture data. Focussing the camera on small marine creature also focussed their minds and stimulated great interest and care for the coastal environment. The same children who had rushed onto the rocky shelves would upon the return journey take extra care about where they placed their feet, ever mindful now of not harming the marine life.
Coastal youth champions are not created but rather discovered as such Epiphany Stransom Ford 12, in Cape Town has taken on a leadership role with regards to encouraging the youth in the False Bay Hope Spot area. In working with Craig Foster, acclaimed documentary film-maker and Sea-Change team member, and his son, Tom, she is not only experiencing and developing a love for the marine environment but sharing it with others – youth and adults alike.
The young naturalist is passionate about exploring the rock-pools and underwater "golden forests" of the Cape and has always been passionate about conservation and from almost as soon as she could speak she told us she wanted to be 'an animal saviour'. At the age of ten, she represented BirdLife SA campaigning for Award winning 'Penguin Run' by challenging her fellow Grade 4 pupils at sister schools Mickelfield and Oakhurst to participate via Twitter in raising awareness about over fishing and loss of habitat of the African Penguin. Apart from her focus on marine conservation she is very exacting around the house about recycling and using water sparingly. (IMAGE: CRAIG FOSTER)
Epiphany also addressed members of the public at the recent Sense Africa film festival in Cape Town to speak about False Bay declared a Hope Spot (part of Dr Sylvia Earle’s TED Wish Campaign).
Maggie Nixon, 16 from Washington DC recently completed a youth internship with SST visiting all the SA Hope Spots and stopping of with partner organisations. Maggie feels it is time to reach a new demographic – the youth – and is actively working towards promoting awareness about marine conservation in America and hopes to facilitate interactions between US and South African youth around the theme of Hope Spots. Maggie, who is documenting her visit through blogs and films, also joined a recent SST-Rotary Interact rocky shore expedition in Kenton-on-Sea.
Maggie Nixon and Epiphany Ford exploring our South African shores - March 2015.
IMAGE: CRAIG FOSTER