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REF NO.: 113

SUBJECT: Marine Institute presents Youth and the Oceans Conferences
DATE: Feb. 7, 2011

The Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University of Newfoundland is presenting Youth and the Oceans Conferences across the province, including three in February.
The Youth and the Oceans Conferences are conducted by MI Ocean Net and are designed to celebrate the role of youth in marine environmental activity in Newfoundland and Labrador. Junior high and high school students and teachers attend the conferences each year, taking part in day-long series of thought-provoking presentations and interactive discussions.
“MI Ocean Net will bring together the energy and enthusiasm of youth with a focus on marine environmental issues representing leadership and career opportunities for the young people of our province,” said Carey Bonnell, head, School of Fisheries, Marine Institute. “The theme this year is all about sustainability – what it means to us, our role in it, and our opportunities to take action.”
The Youth and the Ocean Conferences have a tradition of engaging youth in direct discussions on environmental issues. Students interact with experts in the fields of fisheries and marine conservation, ecology of marine birds and marine transportation.
 “The exciting Youth Forum gives students the opportunity to get engaged in discussions which challenge their current understandings and help facilitate new ideas about issues which matter most to them,” said Justin Dearing, conference coordinator, MI Ocean Net.
Three Youth and the Ocean Conferences are planned for February, starting in Bonavista on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Discovery Collegiate. The events include remarks from Mr. Dearing and MI faculty member Keith Rideout, as well as the youth forum and other activities. The conference runs from 12:45-2:30 p.m.
On Feb. 10, the Youth and the Oceans Conference series goes to Pasadena Academy from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Speakers include Mr. Dearing of MI Ocean Net; Amy Cull, student council president, Pasadena Academy; Ivan Emke, associate vice-principal (Research), Grenfell Campus, Memorial University; and Fred Sheppard, Parks Canada.
The Marine Institute will host the Youth and the Oceans Conference in St. John’s on Feb. 24, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Among the speakers will be Glenn Blackwood, executive director, MI; and Meagan LeMessurier, a Marine Institute student who took part in an Arctic expedition with Students on Ice in 2010.
The Feb. 24 conference will also include an awards presentation, youth forum, and tours of the Marine Institute’s flume tank and aquaculture labs. Information booths will also be set up by a number of like-minded groups and companies and the event will include face painting and live music from Terry Rielly.
“The Youth and the Oceans Conferences play a valuable role in the development of youth who wish to further their studies of oceans and marine issues,” Mr. Bonnell said. “These students will also learn about the educational options available at MI that will enable them to make a positive impact in our province’s marine sector.” 
The Marine Institute will also bring the Youth and the Oceans Conference series to Marystown on March 10, St. Anthony on March 22, Makkovik on March 25 and Burgeo on March 31. 
“The Youth and the Oceans Conferences present young people with fresh ideas related to ocean sustainability issues in our province,” Mr. Dearing said. “We expose youth to their role in some challenging issues specific to Newfoundland and Labrador and more importantly, to the multitude of opportunities to study, train and work on those issues close to home. We want to show these young minds how to get engaged and take the first steps toward the education and training they’ll need to create positive change in our beautiful province.”
The Youth and the Oceans Conferences are supported by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development; and the Gainey Foundation.
To learn more about MI Ocean Net and the Youth and the Oceans Conferences, visit http://www.mi.mun.ca/mioceannet.

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