Rebecca Sparkles at Junior Sea Life Conference
A passionate presentation by a 13-year-old Hayle girl on the controversial Canadian seal cull was roundly applauded by guests at a Conference in Birmingham this week.

Rebecca Johnson's detailed and graphic account captivated guests and delegates alike at the first ever National Junior Sea Life Conference.

Rebecca was one of nine delegates representing Sea Life Centres and Sanctuaries across the UK, who delivered presentations to an audience including senior members of leading marine wildlife charities.
Pictured with naturalist and broadcaster Nick Baker as a diver carries a symbolic ‘time-bomb’ earth through the ocean tank at the National Sea Life Centre, are from left to right: Standing - Tierney Carter, Rebecca Johnson, Amber Rowland (Nick Baker), Ricky Froud, Matthew Newsome and Abigale Rudland. Kneeling - Molly Clayton, Hannah Layton and Kwabe Tenkorang.  Click on this photo to see a larger version >>>
"The standard of presentation and the emotive response speakers got from their listeners was at a level much higher than you would normally expect at a 'grown-up' professional conference," said the Marine Conservation Society's communications director Richard Harrington.
L-R Back Row - Chris Stroud, Chief Executive WDCS; TV wildlife presenter Nick Baker; Shark Trust Director of Conservation Ali Hood; Marine Conservation Society Communications Director Richard Harrington. Middle Row - Molly Clayton, Matthew Newsome, Ricky Froud, Rebecca Johnson, Tierney Carter, Kwabe Tenkorang. Front row - Amber Rowland, Abigale Rudland, Hannah Layton.  Click on this photo to see a larger version >>> "Seeing how well each of these individuals understood and then communicated the varied threats that our sea life faces is really encouraging for the future."

Rebecca and her fellow delegates enjoyed a guided tour of the National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham, and tucked into a special Conference dinner at event venue The Hilton Metropole Hotel with TV wildlife presenter Nick Baker.
The chief executive of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, Chris Stroud, and the Shark Trust's director of conservation, Ali Hood, also attended, and both applauded the quality of the work produced by all the delegates.

"The inspiring and highly informative presentations were really outstanding, and in this sometimes jaded world, give us real hope that this new generation will make a positive impact for the future conservation of our marine environment," said Chris Stroud.
Rebecca giving her presentation.  Click on this photo to see a larger version >>>
Rebecca, of Hayle, was representing the National Seal Sanctuary in Gweek.  The other delegates and their topics were:-
      Hannah Layton, 10, of Tonbridge, Kent - coral reef erosion.

      Amber Rowland, 11, of Bolton - sea turtle conservation.

      Ricky Froud, 13, of Martham, Norfolk - shark finning.

      Abigale Rudland, 14, of Weymouth - Beluga whales.

      Kwabe Tenkorang, 11, of Potter's Bar - overfishing.

      Molly Carter, 11, of Peterborough - whaling.

      Matthew Newsome, 14, of Scarborough - shark bycatch.

      Tierney Carter, 11, of Oban, Scotland - shooting of Scottish seals.

A secret ballot to identify the 'most impressive' presentation saw Molly Clayton emerge the victor.

The selection of 'whaling' as the winning presentation was mirrored by the choice made at a corresponding Conference in Germany last month.

As a result the Sea Life network is now likely to mount a Europe-wide anti-whaling campaign in 2009.

Following the success of both Conferences, plans are already being laid for similar events next year…and for an International Junior Sea Life Conference in 2010.
Issued by the Sea Life Centres
For more details, please contact Mark Oakley on 01202 440040 or 07977 990517
Press Release date: 17th July 2008
Notes to editors:

Click on the photo above of your choice to see a larger version

Top photo - Pictured with naturalist and broadcaster Nick Baker as a diver carries a symbolic ‘time-bomb’ earth through the ocean tank at the National Sea Life Centre, are from left to right: Standing - Tierney Carter, Rebecca Johnson, Amber Rowland (Nick Baker), Ricky Froud, Matthew Newsome and Abigale Rudland. Kneeling - Molly Clayton, Hannah Layton and Kwabe Tenkorang.

Middle photo - L-R Back Row - Chris Stroud, Chief Executive WDCS; TV wildlife presenter Nick Baker; Shark Trust Director of Conservation Ali Hood; Marine Conservation Society Communications Director Richard Harrington. Middle Row - Molly Clayton, Matthew Newsome, Ricky Froud, Rebecca Johnson, Tierney Carter, Kwabe Tenkorang. Front row - Amber Rowland, Abigale Rudland, Hannah Layton.

Bottom photo - Rebecca giving her presentation

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