It is my bestowed honor to accept this
prestigious award. I, however, am not
the only person deserving of such an award as I worked with a
classmates who also passionately worked as I did towards this
I first was required to this project as a school long-term assignment.
Upon beginning it the group and I became
passionately involved and had no problem working on the project
even though it was for a school grade. The program we used as
a guide is called Community Action Problem Solving (CAPS) which
is a program of Earth Force. Earth Force is young people changing
their communities now, while developing life long habits of active
citizen ship and environmental stewardship. Many people think
of Earth Force as kids picking up trash at a park. Through Earth
Force, however, students learn to create lasting sociological
and political changes in their community. So instead of picking
up the trash they arrange for trashcans and recycle bins to be
placed in the park.
Our project was addressed when we created an environmental inventory
feasible problems to try and solve in our community. A representative
the South Carolina Aquarium came to our class and told us of
and their troubles. They informed us that swordfish were being
longline fishing in mass numbers off fragile nursery communities
South Carolina coast then being thrown back dead as they were
too small to
keep towards a quota. We unanimously voted to do the project
because it had
the potential to be as big or as small as we wanted it to be
interested us. We then researched and developed a plan of action.
Part of this plan involved speaking at a press conference at
biology center. Since this was a sensitive subject many showed
public hearing to address their views on long line fishing and
harvesting of swordfish. As we got up to speak, at the time being
grade kids in front of a bunch of hostile adults for the first
said, "What are they going to do, sing?" We had prepared
our speeches time
in advance and knew our stuff. Upon finishing we received a standing
and were later quoted by others, who had planned to speak as,
Springfield kids summed it up" From our address at the hearing
invited to speak before our congressional representatives through
organization called SEAweb in Washington, DC. This trip turned
out to be a
great success as we ultimately banned longline fishing in sensitive
areas off the eastern seaboard and Florida coast during swordfish
periods. It proves that no matter what the odds are or how great
dissension If you know what you believe and truly express that
you can accomplish anything even if you are only a kid.
I owe a great deal to my fellow classmates and my extraordinary
is here tonight since another great support, my dad could not
transformed me from an introverted shy kid to what I am today.
She is a
great influence to me and has taught me not only about swordfish
about life. Speaking in front of groups now is not a fear nor
my true beliefs on an issue. She along with others have inspired
the campaign and through my life.
To help with the lasting campaign against commercial extinction
you can: not eat swordfish, not buy swordfish, and not sell swordfish
not over fish swordfish.
I would like to close with a quote that has led us through the
and the good. Margaret Mead once so eloquently said:
that a small group of concerned citizens can make a difference;
indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
-- GRAYSON SCHLEPPEGRELL