The desire to be surrounded by the beach seemed inevitable for young Connor Berryhill. As an infant in swim class, he was drawn to the soothing environ. His swim instructor said he had never seen a kid so comfortable underwater. As he grew, Connor yearned for the underwater world, preferring ocean documentaries to cartoons. He even begged for a way to breath underwater.
On a family trip to Hawaii, as he took an early morning walk down the beach, the five year old encountered a wild monk seal. Connor’s fascination for the creature turned to deep empathy when he learned that the seal was endangered, and its species was often entangled in discarded fishing nets or leftover beach trash. Connor’s new connection to the natural world inspired him on a mission that continues today —- to clean up as many beaches as he can.
Now, five years later, Connor has converted a desire to save the oceans into advocacy to prompt other kids to join him in his quest. Whether he’s working solo or alongside a group of other kids, Connor is committed to change the fate of the planet. His parents have dubbed him the Microactivist and created a website to chronicle his journeys.
“There are many times I will be alone, but there are those special times, those times when other Microactivist kids will join in, and together we show what a bunch of determined ocean loving kids can do! I haven’t lived long, but I’ve already learned that if what you’re doing, needs doing… people, especially other kids, they’re gonna pitch in to make it right! That’s really what this trash walk is all about, meeting up with other awesome kids and their grown-ups to show others that us kids really do care about the ocean, and that we really can do something about it.”
— Connor, age 10, Microactivist Founder
In March, 2017, Connor organized his first all-kids MicroActivist Team beach clean up. Together, kids engaged in a massive beach clean up, and, according to all reports, left inspired to do more. Most importantly, the kids willingly volunteered, not for a reward or because someone asked them to, but because it is the right thing to do for nature and all its creatures.
Here are some quick stats about what the MicroActivist Team has accomplished to date: 182 kids have joined the MicroActivist on his journey, 484 pounds of trash have been cleaned up so far, 146 plastic bottles have been picked up, 84 cigarette butts have been removed, 8 tires have been removed and properly recycled, and 12 escaped Mylar balloons have been retired.
Committed to recycling and reducing overall plastic usage, Connor and his followers are moving along the California/ Mexico border and have plans to head north, stopping anytime a beach needs cleaning. Click here to learn more about Operation Clean Up, and, if you’re a kid, plan on joining in!