Youth Ocean Summit Recap

On April 7th, we held our first ever New England Youth Ocean Summit at UMass Boston to inspire young people to take action to advance key New England ocean conservation initiatives, train ocean lovers in key organizing skills to turn their passion into change, and make real change to protect our oceans!


More than 150 people attended the Youth Ocean Summit, including students from Western Mass, UMass Amherst, UMass Dartmouth, Salem State, and UMass Boston, college and university representatives, professionals in their field, and environmental advocates . With the Gulf of Maine heating up faster than almost any other part of our ocean, now is the time to take action to conserve sensitive habitats, protect whales and other marine mammals and fight plastic pollution. When young people come together, we can make change, and we can build a better future for the marine life living off New England’s shores. To protect Cashes Ledge, we collected over 6,000 campaign actions from Massachusetts students to bring to the Biden Administration in Washington DC!!

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this event possible!! Special thanks to MASSPIRG Students UMass Boston chapter for hosting the summit and to the UMass Amherst, UMass Dartmouth, and Holyoke Community College students that volunteered at the action stations and as event greeters! 

Our Board member Ashanti McIean and UMass Boston volunteer Owen Myka-Smith began the Youth Ocean Summit with a warm welcome and an overview of the importance of protecting our oceans.

During the summit students got to hear from scientists, advocates, and organizers about New Endland’s ocean treasure Cashes Ledge, the dangers of deep sea mining, protecting Right Whales, how to turn your art into activism more. And conference attendees heard from panelists like Janet Dominetz, MASSPIRG Students legislative Director and Nick Vasconcellos, UMass Amherst’s Beyond Plastics Coordinator, about how we can take action to ban single use plastics and build community around our Planet over Plastics.


Sustainable Ocean Alliance Regional Advisor, Mark Haver, along with USPIRG’s Right to Repair Senior Campaigner Director, Nathan Proctor, presented the film, Deep Rising, about the dangers of deep sea mining and spoke on a panel about how we can stop the mining before it begins. 

Kelsey Lamp, Environment America Director of the Protect Our Oceans campaign, and panelists Jeremy Pivor, Bow Seat Ocean Awareness, Regina Asmutis-Silvia, Executive Director for Whale & Dolphin Conservation, and Annabelle Kneisel and Luke Cukierski from The Calvineers to educate students during the “How We Can Save right Whales” panel on how we can take action to protect our right whales.

Lydia Churchill, Environment Massachusetts, about how to protect Cashes Ledge with Gareth Lawson, Senior Scientist with the Conservation Law Foundation, and Isha Sangani, a Youth Leadership Committee Alumni with Earth Echo International spoke to the unique properties that make Cashes Ledge an ideal location for protection.

Presenter Professor Shirley Tang from UMass Boston, and Jadyn Kuah, UMass Boston MASSPIRG Campus Organizer, shared with students in her workshop how to effectively communicate your ocean story!


Program Manager for Bow Seat Ocean Awareness, Susan Tang, led a workshop on how to turn art into activism. Students each made a collage from magazine clippings to showcase their feelings towards the environment!

We had 18 partners for the Youth Summit. Special thanks for your support!

  • Sustainable Ocean Alliance
  • Surfrider Foundation 
  • UMass Boston – School for the Environment
  • UMass Boston – Office Campus Planning and Sustainability
  • UMass Boston – Nantucket Field Station
  • The Ocean Project
  • Bow Seat Ocean Awareness
  • Clean Water Fund – ReThink Disposable
  • Earth Echo International
  • Ocean River Institute
  • The Calvin Project
  • Conservation Law Foundation
  • Natural Resource Defense Council
  • Sustainable Solutions Lab
  • UMass Dartmouth Torch

Together, we can protect our oceans and encourage our decision makers to do the same.

Photos credited to Tim O’Connor, Mia Fay-Melano, Sayeed Chowdhury