Courtesy of San Benito High School:
San Benito High School senior Shelby O’Neil, founder of the nonprofit Junior Ocean Guardians, was recently presented with the Gold Award and $5,000 from Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs for designing and leading a campaign “in your school or community that creatively educates others and inspires action to reduce or prevent marine debris.”
O’Neil has received accolades in recent months for her environmental advocacy.
San Benito High School student Shelby O’Neil on Aug. 11 was presented the Paul Walker Foundation’s Youth Leadership Award and scholarship for her ocean advocacy work, including creating a successful campaign called “No Straw November,” which asked people to pledge not to use plastic straws for one month. That’s not all of O’Neil’s accomplishments, though.
She’s earned national exposure through the Martha Stewart Living magazine and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. She convinced Alaska Airlines to ditch plastic straws and toothpicks on all its flights (a story picked up by Fortune magazine). Shelby was even flown to the headquarters of Delta Airlines to promote her campaign; spoke at Dreamforce, the annual user conference hosted by Salesforce.com in San Francisco; and won unanimous California Coastal Commission support for “No Straw November.”
But she didn’t stop there. “For a Girl Scout Gold Award, I created a nonprofit called Jr Ocean Guardians,” says Shelby, “teaching younger schoolchildren the importance of the oceans and how they can help.”
Read a previous San Benito Live Q&A with O’Neil here.