Recently, Wild received word that one of our younger readers had received funding to assist her mission to save the planet.
Shannon Leesfield of Lake Cathie, NSW, introduced us to her motivated 11-year-old daughter, Shalise, who is keen to spread the word about controlling litter.
“Shalise is an 11 year old eco warrior that is on a mission to help save the planet and the ocean from plastic pollution and discarded fishing line,” the young woman’s mother told us.
Having discovered how much of an impact plastic and, in particular, fishing line is for marine wildlife, Shalise took it upon herself to become an ambassador for the environment.
“Every year thousands of marine animals are injured due to discarded fishing line and it became my mission to clean up the local beaches to help save aquatic animals and bird life from entanglement and plastic rubbish,” she said.
“Fishing line is one of the most harmful things that gets washed into the ocean because it is strong and invisible in the water.
“A lot of marine animals can’t see it floating in the water and can get tangled in it and can’t break free.”
With this in mind, Shalise began spending her weekends documenting fishing line and other waste she found, documenting each example and presenting her local council with her reports.
“I asked if I could install some fishing line collection bins in our town and I was over the moon when I received a letter giving me approval to install two tackle bins at some of the popular fishing spots in Lake Cathie,” she said.
Growing support for a young lady’s environmental cause
“Each week I recorded how much line I was collecting and sent this information into the council to show how successful they were, as my plan was to expand the fishing line bins to Hastings River.”
As a result, the NSW state government has recently announced this enterprising environmentalist will be receiving an Environmental Litter Grant to fund the installation of additional collection bins, as well as support for a local ranger and signage around her local waterways.
Shalise told us she also has plans to meet with council heads in July this year to discuss the specifics of the budget allocation, as well as the particular locations of the planned bins.
“Last month the State Government announced that I will be getting part of an Environmental Litter Grant to fund the installation of additional fishing line collection bins, a local ranger and signage around our community. I will be meeting with the council heads in July this year to discuss the budget allocation and the locations of the fishing line bin expansion.
Plans have also been put in motion for Shalise and her cause to be filmed by Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau from the international advocacy group EarthEcho, which will also see her attend a STEM-based conference in Melbourne.
“Being a global activist is so important to me and I love spreading the message to as many people as possible all over the world about how we can help save our amazing planet from pollution,” Shalise said.
“I really believe that together the youth of today can make it happen, one step at a time.”
And if that wasn’t enough, this pint-sized hero has also written a song that aims to inspire others to take part in her cause, which she has shared via her YouTube page.
If you want to follow Shalise in her ongoing mission to reduce plastic waste, visit her Instagram profile at @shalisesoceansupport.