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REF NO.: 128

SUBJECT: Marine Institute site of St. John’s Youth and the Oceans Conference
DATE: Feb. 22, 2011

The Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University will host a Youth and the Oceans Conference on Thursday, Feb. 24. The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Hampton Hall and the MI gymnasium at the Marine Institute’s Ridge Rd. campus in St. John’s. Members of the media are invited to attend.
The Youth and the Oceans Conference will celebrate the role of youth in marine environmental activity in Newfoundland and Labrador. Close to 200 junior high and high school students from the Avalon Peninsula will attend, taking part in a day-long series of thought-provoking presentations and interactive discussions that focus on marine environmental issues representing leadership and career opportunities for youth.
 “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,” said Glenn Blackwood, executive director, MI. “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 ocean sector.”
Among the speakers at Thursday’s Youth and the Oceans Conference will be Mr. Blackwood; Justin Dearing, conference coordinator, MI Ocean Net; 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, aquaculture labs and Remotely Operated Vehicle simulator. Information booths will be set up in the MI gymnasium by a number of like-minded groups and companies and the event will include live music from Terry Rielly and face painting from Wandering Brush.
“This conference will engage youth in a number of important topics and give students the opportunity to have their voices heard,” said Mr. Dearing. “Through direct participation in discussions on environmental issues, students will have a chance to engage in the issues that matter most to them.”
The Marine Institute brought the Youth and Oceans Conference series to Discovery Collegiate in Bonavista on Feb. 8 and to Pasadena Academy on Feb. 10. Close to 250 students attended the conference in Bonavista, while more than 150 took part in the Pasadena conference.
“The Youth and the Oceans Conferences are well received by junior high and high school students across the province,” said Mr. Blackwood. “It is not surprising that our youth care about these issues. This illustrates that they want to learn more about the academic and career choices available in these ocean-related fields.”
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 are supported by the Gainey Foundation; the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development.
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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