At just 11 years old, Maris Ferro is already setting an example for conservation. Every time she visits her local beach, Isle of Palms County Park, she brings a bag to collect trash. Cigarette butts are among her most collected items. To date, she has removed more than 700 of them from the beach.
After gathering the cigarette butts, Maris brings them to Ollie’s Trading Post at the Aquarium for proper disposal. What does she plan to do with the points she has earned at the Trading Post for her hard work?
“I’m saving up for a shark tooth!” she says.
Maris does more than just pick up trash along the shore, though. She takes every opportunity to learn about animals from the biology professionals at the Aquarium and beyond, and she shares her knowledge with others she sees at the beach. “She’s an environmentalist to the core,” says Maris’s mother, Tracy. “She’ll tell anyone she encounters why it’s important to remove trash from the beach. She’ll even encourage fishermen to release their fish back into the wild.”
Maris’s educational message is simple but effective: “Don’t litter, and pick up trash so you can save the lives of sea turtles and other animals.” She proves that anyone, regardless of age, can make a difference.
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