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 that of 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, that 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. You can see what opportunities we have here. The deadline to apply to be a youth volunteer for the summer is February 28 by 3 p.m.

If you would like to participate in our Youth Conservation Series (YCS) events, the next one will be on March 7. The Youth Ocean Conservation Summit event allows students to learn how to kick off their own ocean conservation projects. Registration for the summit is due by February 28. Mark your calendars for March 28, our 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!