The oceans on earth generate half of the oxygen we breathe, and for us to continue to thrive, we need our seas to stay healthy. However, increasing industrialism, over-fishing and the destruction of natural marine environments are all playing serious havoc on our oceans. Therefore, marine conservation volunteering is not only an exciting opportunity for teens to mingle with awesome sea inhabitants, but can also provide crucial help for a vitally important cause.
Many species of sea turtle are sadly hurtling towards extinction, and there are many organizations looking for volunteers to help protect them. Teens can achieve hands-on experience of these ancient, endangered creatures, tracking sea turtles in the Bahamas, researching their habits and ways to help protect their dwindling numbers.
Teens also have the opportunity to be involved with one of the most important Loggerhead turtle sites in Europe, monitoring and recording activity, as well as experiencing the stunning surrounding beauty of Greece.
Turtles need help closer to home, too: teens can volunteer to help protect Alabama’s Sea Turtles, especially during hatching season, or help rescue those that get stranded on the beaches of Cape Cod Bay every November.
Protect Coral Reefs
If your teen is an experienced scuba diver or snorkeler, there are many opportunities to get thoroughly immersed in marine conservation, by volunteering to study and help protect the amazing coral reefs that adorn our oceans, which are under grave threat in many areas. Research the devastating effect of climate change off the secluded island of Little Cayman, or explore spectacular diving sites of Madagascar, discovering and analyzing vast stretches of pristine coral.
Study Ocean Mammals
If majestic sea creatures are your teen’s thing, they will love the chance to witness whales and dolphins in their natural habits. They can visit Costa Rica and contribute to valuable research, and help safeguard the ocean’s giants and their environment.
The ORCA Marine Conservation in South Africa is home to some of the most fascinating species of whale, and your teen would have the opportunity to observe and participate in crucial conservation work, either for a short volunteering spell, or for a longer period during a gap year.
Observe the Misunderstood Shark
There is nothing more exhilarating than the prospect of getting up close and personal with a shark. Teens have the opportunity to do just that in Belize, working with noted experts in the field of shark conservation, and doing their bit to offer much-needed support in helping to protect these often misunderstood creatures. Or they could head to Fiji to study their behavior and physiology, collecting important research data, and diving with the sharks themselves.
Help Conserve Fish Supplies
One of the most pressing marine conservation issues we face these days is the management of fishing. Although wealthy countries are well aware of the negative impact of over-fishing, poorer countries often need help understanding the effect it can have on the environment; teens have the opportunity to volunteer in assisting communities in Madagascar learn about fishing management.
Take Part in a Coastal Clean-Up
Teens don’t need to travel half way across the world, or dive in the ocean, to help with marine conservation. The state of our beaches can have an adverse effect on marine inhabitants, both on and offshore, with trash not only an eye-sore, but potentially harmful for marine wildlife. There are many opportunities for teens to volunteer their services, for example, join the Ocean Conservancy and take part in an international campaign to get rid of trash on beaches and in the sea.