Corporate Curator for Conservation and Education at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Bill Street, reported to Historic City News that St Johns County student, Madison Toonder, has received an appointment to the 2017-2019 SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Youth Advisory Council.
Madison is one of nine new members welcomed into the Council this year, selected from outstanding applicants from across the United States. In addition to her advisory role, as a Youth Advisory Council member, she is tasked with directly developing and leading programs to support the organization’s work of inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders.
“The advice, perspective, and energy the Council brings provides our leadership with youthful insight to make our parks more accessible and engaging for the next generations,” Street wrote. “The Youth Advisory Council also provides a great opportunity for these amazing young adults to grow their leadership skills and potential.”
According to background information obtained by Historic City News, in 2016, Council members played a key role in providing recommendations regarding the SeaWorld marketing and social media efforts, they shared feedback to the park teams on incorporating conservation messaging into programs, helped shape the continued expansion and outreach plans for the SeaWorld myActions platform, launched educational efforts tied to SeaWorld’s work to raise awareness about Vaquita conservation, and represented SeaWorld through inspiring presentations at national youth conferences.
“Meaningful youth leadership must play a key role in the work of conservation focused organizations,” added Youth Advisory Council Coordinator, Sean Russell. “Through the Youth Advisory Council, SeaWorld is setting the bar for authentic youth engagement in the fulfillment of our mission and work.”
Hometown: St. Augustine Beach, Florida
School: Stanford University Online High School
Madison aspires to be an exotic marine animal veterinarian with a focus on conservation of endangered species. In pursuit of her goal, she has conducted scientific research on the oyster, sea turtle, alligator and pangolin with scientists across the world. Madison has been recognized by NOAA for “Taking the Pulse of the Planet” and was a recipient of the 2016 SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Environmental Excellence Award. She is constantly expanding the reach of her conservation message by acting as keynote speaker at numerous environmental events and writing conservation blogs. She volunteers at a zoo, veterinary hospital and as an exotic animal research assistant.