Youth Leadership Council Member
Laura Park is a Masters Student at the University of Plymouth in the UK studying MSc Marine Conservation, she also has a BSc (Hons) degree from Plymouth in Ocean Science and Marine Conservation.
Laura has actively been involved in the conservation of marine life since the age of 16 where she volunteered at the Blue Planet Aquarium in the UK. As a volunteer she contributed to animal husbandry and hosting visitors. Working closely with the aquarists and divers and learning from their experiences led her to pursue a degree in a related field.
At 17, Laura completed a Nuffield Research Project at Bangor University, Wales, where she incorporated 3D printing to marine biology by mapping the honey comb worm (Sabellaria Alveolata) on the North Wales coast. She consequently received a Gold STEM Crest award for her paper.
Through her Undergraduate degree, Laura collected her final project data in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, and completed her Bachelors dissertation, entitled “Using a platform of opportunity to assess the distribution and behaviour of cetaceans in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa”. Laura also undertook a field course module in The Bahamas during her final year. In a small group, she developed an investigative conservation research project, devised a data collection method in which she then trained 10 other students, collected the data in the field, and then processed and statistically analysed it, before presenting her results to an audience of Bahamian stakeholders.
Currently, Laura is ending her two-year term as a Youth Advisory Council Member for World Oceans Day where she has been able to develop educational online resources such as a “plogging” toolkit and a biodiversity guidebook and has run her own World Oceans Day festival on 8th June. Through World Oceans Day, Laura has worked with the Marine Stewardship Council to create a short documentary, where she interviewed young people on their knowledge and opinions about sustainable fishing and seafood. As part of the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council, Laura has been interviewed by radio stations and children’s news outlets (Newsround) about her contributions.
For her Masters Dissertation, Laura is working With Operation Wallacea to evaluate and create an ecological case for the newest Marine Protected Area (MPA) designation in Tela Bay, Honduras.
In her spare time, Laura enjoys spending time with family and friends, travelling wherever possible and spending time in the water. Laura hopes her work will contribute to important research and help educate the next generation of conservationists and nature activists.