Youth engagement

About the Initiative

Youth engagement is a major priority for almost all of our CELC members. The CELC strategic plan calls on the network to develop and support opportunities for aquarium youth — particularly those from underrepresented communities — to engage in stewardship actions for ocean and coastal conservation.

2021 Virtual Youth Summit 

On August 6-8, 2021, teams of high school students associated with our 25 partner aquariums came together for the 2021 CELC Virtual Youth Summit. This exciting weekend featured virtual interactive workshops from leaders sharing how they are making a difference for the ocean through a variety of means — art, social media, writing, advocacy, and more — and teaching the summit participants how they can do the same. After the summit, each group of teens left with new skills, new connections, and a plan for how they will take action in their home community to protect coastal and marine ecosystems. Additionally, the CELC network continued to support participating teens’ continued professional development after the summit through monthly professional development webinars.

Our Partners

We are excited that the 2021 CELC Youth Summit was supported by eeBLUE offsite link, a partnership between NOAA Office of Education and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). We are also excited to have worked with a wonderful youth planning team, made up of 8 young changemakers from across our partner aquariums, who lent their voices in the planning and implementation of this summit. 

We would also like to acknowledge the numerous external organizations that provided us with resources, guidance, and summit models that helped shape this program, particularly the following groups:

Screenshot of teens and NOAA staff in a video meeting holding up pieces of paper with words written on them. Words include energized, hopeful, empowering, enlightened, grateful, inspired, inspirational, and awesome.
Teen participants in the Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers (CELC) Youth Summit pose with a word describing how they feel after the summit. (NOAA)