Shelby O'Neil began volunteer work at an Aquarium and was so inspired by the environmental issues facing our Oceans that she decided to take action! Shelby formed Jr Ocean Guardians for her 2017 Girl Scout of America Gold Award Project to share her passion to save our Oceans and marine life for future generations. On October 11, 2018, International Day of the Girl, Shelby was one of 10 Girl Scouts selected to receive the title of National Girl Scouts Gold Award in New York City.
Shelby and her Jr Ocean Guardian Ambassadors visit lower grade level school children and host beach clean-ups to spread the word on alternatives to single-use plastics and also the importance of recycling.
Shelby used the power of G.I.R.L. Girl Scouts model tackling her project by being a Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, and Leader for the No StrawNovember Movement. On 10/11/17, the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved Shelby's "No Straw November" Resolution. And, in the summer of 2018, both the California State Senate and Assembly officially passed SCR-139 No Straw November to officially recognize November in California as No Straw November! SCR-139 was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning and co-sponsored by Jr Ocean Guardians and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Shelby has been a guest author for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation's website addressing the needs to reduce plastics and the #NoStrawNovember movement, as well being featured in Martha Stewart Living online, NowThis Her, the Washington Post, Brut America, Monterey Bay Aquarium Ocean Hero campaign, the Girl Scouts USA PSA All Girl, and other print and online publications.
Through Shelby's letter writing campaign, she has worked hard to persuade CEO's to replace single-use plastic straws, stirrers, and citrus picks with sustainable alternatives at companies including Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, Dignity Health, Farmer Brothers, Costco, PG&E, Starbucks, and more. To-date, over 37 million single-use plastic straws, stirrers, and citrus picks per year have been eliminated or are in the process of being eliminated.
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