Ocean Hero Finalists: Ayla Besemer - Oceana USA
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May 10, 2010

Ocean Hero Finalists: Ayla Besemer

This is the seventh in a series of posts about this year’s Ocean Hero finalists.

Last week I highlighted our adult Ocean Hero finalists, so this week it’s the juniors’ turn. First up is 13-year-old Ayla Besemer, who may just be the next Al Gore — for the oceans. (Except she is way cuter.)

Inspired by the beauty of the creatures in the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” 13-year-old Ayla and her friend Simon created “Save Our Seas,” an interactive presentation kids everywhere can give that highlights ocean threats and 15 actions kids can take today.

To date, Ayla has given her “Save Our Seas” presentation to more than 1,500 people in seven states and the Bahamas.

Julie Packard, Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, liked the presentation so much that Ayla and Simon became the youngest people to ever present in the main auditorium of the aquarium at the World Ocean Day Celebration in June of 2008.

Ayla’s infatuation with the ocean started on a visit to Monterey, California when she was a wee kindergartner. After learning about cool creatures and ocean threats at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, she was determined to do her part to help save the seas — starting by asking her kindergarten class to eat tilapia.

By age 9 she was writing articles for local community publications on the dangers our oceans are facing, and calling kids to take action today.

And by age 10 she became a youth ambassador for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, commuting to Monterey from her home in Boulder, Colorado to work at aquarium events throughout the year promoting ocean awareness and conservation among kids.

Ayla knows that kids can make a difference for the oceans — she is living proof.

Here’s a video of Ayla giving her Save Our Seas presentation in North Carolina. You can follow Ayla on Twitter at @threeatsea, and see more videos, blog posts and more at http://www.threeatsea.com

And don’t forget to check out the rest of the finalists and cast your vote!