A boy plays on a beach in The Bahamas.
The Bahamas | A young boy plays on a beach on the island of New Providence. © Shane Gross


Students Rebuild Launches Ocean Challenge to Restore Marine Health and Support Coastal Communities

Students Rebuild, a program of the Bezos Family Foundation that mobilizes young people to take action on some of the world's most critical problems, announced a new partnership with Global Nomads Group, The Nature Conservancy and Ocean Collectiv to address the health of the world's ocean. The Students Rebuild Ocean Challenge gives students and educators worldwide the opportunity to support ocean conservation by exploring the ocean system, coral reefs, and the people who live closest to them.

The ocean covers 70 percent of the Earth's surface and is essential for many critical life processes we often take for granted, like oxygen production and food. Improving ocean health is particularly important for the 40 percent of the world's population living on coastlines. Many of those residents are entirely dependent on marine and coastal resources for their livelihood.

“Young people are co-creators of powerful solutions every day,” said Jackie Bezos, President and co-founder of the Bezos Family Foundation. “We hope their voices and actions will inspire long-term engagement in ocean health and improved livelihoods for coastal communities.”

Students participating in the Ocean Challenge will support the development of scalable solutions to coral reef decline in The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and other coastal locations. Programs supported will also provide conservation-related education, job training, and other efforts to strengthen coastal communities. The programs are expected to engage over 3,500 youth.

"The fates of coral reef ecosystems and coastal communities are intimately intertwined. This project empowers students to take action to reverse the decline of these invaluable assets," said Dr. Joseph Pollock, Coral Strategy Director for The Nature Conservancy. "We are excited to partner with Students Rebuild to unite local and international students in ground-breaking efforts to protect and restore coral reefs."

"The Ocean Challenge spotlights the fundamental connection between ocean health and coastal community sustainability," said Jean Flemma, a Founding Member of the Ocean Collectiv. "While the young people participating in the Challenge are our future leaders and doers, this project will give them the chance right now to support coastal dependent communities."

Students can participate in the Ocean Challenge by crafting and submitting their own paper sea creature based on what they've learned about the ocean and the people who live closest to it. For each piece of artwork submitted, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $2—up to $500,000—towards youth-focused, science-based programs aimed at developing a new generation of citizen-conservationists.

Additional information about the Ocean Challenge can be found at: www.studentsrebuild.org/ocean

About Students Rebuild

Students Rebuild is a collaborative program of the Bezos Family Foundation. Created in January 2010 in response to the devastating Haiti earthquake, Students Rebuild has mobilized more than one million participants in 83 countries and all 50 United States and raised more than $4 million in matching funds for projects like rebuilding schools in Haiti, aiding disaster recovery efforts in Asia, supporting livelihoods in Africa, helping Syrian youth from conflict areas recover from crisis, and supporting empowerment opportunities for youth impacted by poverty. Through our Challenges, we tackle some of the world's most difficult problems, issues that one cannot solve alone. We believe every young person should have an opportunity to help others—but not everyone has the ability to fundraise. Our Challenges require young people to create a simple, symbolic object, which the Foundation matches with funding. This approach allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and in countries around the world to take action and see change on global concerns. www.studentsrebuild.org  On social @StudentsRebuild


About Ocean Collectiv

Ocean Collectiv is a consulting firm for ocean conservation solutions, grounded in social justice. They design conservation that works for communities. They provide fresh ideas on policy, science, and commerce. For each client project, they tailor the ideal interdisciplinary team from our diverse roster of experts. Collectively, their work builds public, corporate, and political will for using the ocean without using it up. www.oceancollectiv.co  On social @oceancollectiv


About Global Nomads Group

Young people lack opportunities to meaningfully engage in a world that is undergoing vast social, cultural, technological, and economic transformation. By leveraging technology, storytelling, and personal connection we enable conversation between middle school and high schools students to promote empathy, awareness, and agency to tackle some of the world's most pressing issues.  www.gng.org On social @globalnomadsgroup


Follow The Nature Conservancy in the Caribbean

@caribbeanTNC           @nature_caribbean

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.