Ten-Year-Old Microactivist Receives Aquarium of the Pacific's 2017 Young Hero Award

Gifted young man overcomes early challenges, makes a big impact with beach, ocean cleanups

Young Hero of the Year award

Last Sunday, ten-year-old "Microactivist" Connor Berryhill received the 2017 Young Hero Award from the Aquarium of the Pacific. The award was presented in recognition of Connor's outstanding service to people and the planet through an ongoing series of beach-cleaning and peer education projects.

Connor was first inspired to pick up trash at five years old, after an underwater encounter with a Hawaiian monk seal, an endangered species whose curiosity frequently drives it to become tangled in refuse on beaches or in the sea. Over the last five years, Connor has transformed his passion and tenacity for protecting the ocean's creatures into a youth-driven movement of community cleanups and peer education, spanning up and down the California and Hawaii coasts.

It's a stunning reversal from early challenges that Connor faced: At one point, his parents were told that social integration might be a lifelong struggle. But instead of putting him into special education classes as recommended, they chose to devote every resource to helping him pursue his overriding passion for all things aquatic.

The result is a young leader who motivates his peers to tackle -- and conquer -- a seemingly endless task, one small act at a time. Along the way, they are inspiring adults who had previously deemed the job of cleaning up the world's oceans to be impossible.

Upon hearing that he would receive the Young Hero Award, Connor was initially excited -- then he choked up. "I think this [movement] is working," he said, adding that the award is proof to him that "one person, no matter how small or how big their ideas... that they're never alone, and that together, we might just be able to pull this off."

More About Connor's Activism

Connor Berryhill also directs and narrates a series of educational videos about ocean creatures available on his website, conducts peer presentations about the amazing animals that inhabit the ocean, and is always on the lookout for new opportunities to change the world.

To learn more about Connor and his "Microactivist" projects that show even the smallest among us can have a huge impact, visit MicroActivist.org or contact his mother, Lynel Berryhill, at [email protected].

Source: MicroActivist


Tags: beach cleanup, MicroActivist, plastic pollution

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