UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant is hosting the fifth annual Youth Ocean Conservation Summit (YOCS) on Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island. The summit, one of several taking place across the country, empowers middle and high school students with the knowledge and skills necessary to implement ocean conservation projects in their communities.

This year, participants will have the opportunity to engage with scientists and conservationists who are tackling issues that threaten marine ecosystems. They will also work with their peers to develop community conservation projects and attend sessions that focus on leadership skills, invasive species, plastic pollution, and community engagement through citizen science.

The keynote speaker for the 2019 Summit is Laura Early, the Satilla Riverkeeper. As the Satilla Riverkeeper, Early engages local citizens in the conservation and protection of the Satilla River, its tributaries and watershed. Early will share her experience working in the field of conservation and will educate participants on how to involve their communities in local conservation projects.

The 2019 summit will include a career fair featuring professionals from various organizations including the Georgia Forestry Commission, Skidaway Island State Park, UGA Extension, Allen Campbell Studios, and Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. The career fair will allow students to explore various disciplines and careers in the field of conservation.

Additional speakers include representatives from local conservation organizations, including The Nature Conservancy in Georgia, the South Carolina Aquarium and One Hundred Miles.

The summit is being organized by the 2018-2019 Georgia Sea Grant Marine Education Interns Emily Little, Anna Baynes, Emily Borger and Meghan Carpenter.

Online registration for the Summit closes Jan. 11, 2019. To register, complete the online registration form and payment available on the Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant website https://gacoast.uga.edu/youth-ocean-conservation-summit/