Youth Leaders of Today

​Our youth are the leaders of tomorrow, but many are already leading the charge today! We see all kinds of examples of young people around the globe raising their voices for climate change, species preservation, pollution, and (near and dear to our heart) marine conservation.

Here at the Virginia Aquarium, we partner with local teens who have joined us in our conservation mission. Many of these young people volunteer in the Aquarium and in community efforts.

Sophie Collins, a senior at Hickory High School hopes to be a marine veterinarian one day but is not waiting for "one day" to get involved. Sophie has been volunteering with us for about a year and a half. While she started working at the Aquarium to edge closer to her dream of working with marine life, she keeps coming back because she has found a second family, with whom she shares a common passion.

Sophie believes one of the biggest threats we are facing is ocean pollution. When she is speaking with people Sophie likes to get specific, describing how pollution affects a certain animal and what we can and should do to help. She told us that she likes to believe that whenever she is talking to kids at the aquarium, telling them about the ocean and how it needs to be cleaned up, she is inspiring them to get involved too. We know that she is.

If you want to volunteer at the Aquarium, contact our Volunteer Resource Office at (757) 385-0274, or visit our website at the button below.

If you would like to participate in our Youth Conservation Series (YCS) events, click the button below. The field experiences allow students the chance to get down to the work of conservation and the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit event allows students to learn how to kick off their own community ocean conservation projects. Watch for more on an upcoming YCS Career Day, where you can come have a chat with some of our Aquarium employees. It's a wonderful opportunity to learn how to get involved in the marine sciences from people in the field!