Miles F., a new fourth grader at Shorecrest, started a business a few years ago - Kids Saving Oceans (www.kidssavingoceans.com
) - with the goal of raising money to save oceans, beaches, and marine life. After thinking through how a child could make money to donate to groups doing the conservation work that he felt too young to do, Miles decided to start his own business turning ocean plastics into something people could buy. He began with a humble product line – T-shirts, a hat, and four sticker designs – and set up a folding table at a festival celebrating local businesses in Florida.
What he found that day was a deeply inspirational response to a kid's vision of stewardship and passion for environmental conservation.
Since then, Miles has given talks on why he advocates for healthy oceans and marine life; organized beach cleanups for school, civic, and neighborhood groups; and inspired others to recycle and compost. He gives all of his proceeds to organizations that help the oceans. As of January 2021, Miles has raised more than $18,000 for ocean and beach conservation.
More important than meeting his $1 million donation goal (by age 18), is Miles’ message that one person can make a difference. Miles believes, and his business is founded on the idea, that one person's choices can inspire others and change the world.
On August 12, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), announced the 2021 recipients of the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA). In a virtual ceremony, Administrator Michael S. Regan and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory recognized the awardees and runners-up.
The PEYA was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1970 and recognizes outstanding community-level environmental projects by K-12 youth that promote awareness of natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Each year, PEYA honors a variety of local projects developed by children to promote engagement in environmental stewardship and protection.
From across the country, 32 students who worked as a team or individually on 16 projects were recognized for their leadership and commitment to environmental education and environmental stewardship and received the President’s Environmental Youth Award; 14 students received honorable mentions. Their stewardship projects, conducted in 2020, display a commitment to participating in creative sustainability efforts, restoring native habitats, and installing renewable energy projects.
Miles was awarded in Region 4, Award Category K-5!
“This past school year has been one of the most challenging for our nation, yet students and teachers across the country remained dedicated to tackling the most pressing environmental challenges we face – from climate change to environmental justice,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “I’m so proud of the remarkable youth we’re honoring today and their work to make a difference in their communities. By working hand in hand, we can create a more sustainable, more equitable world.”
“It is humbling and inspiring to see the impact these students are having on their communities and our planet,” said White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory. “I congratulate the awardees and the schools they represent for applying their creativity, leadership, and passion to solving the environmental problems of our time, from confronting the climate crisis and conserving our lands and waters to pursuing environmental justice for all. These remarkable students are leading the way toward a more equitable, sustainable and healthy future.”
Closer to home, Kids Saving Oceans also won the $5,000 grand prize at St. Pete's First Pitch Night in 2019.