Eamon Walsh

Eamon Walsh

Eamon is best described as a budding young scientist. He has worked tirelessly with many groups and organisations demonstrating how to best use scientific ideas to help protect both sea life and the marine environment that they live in. Eamon is a keen scientist and has expanded on his scientific interests through many science forums. In early 2015 Eamon attended the Sir Peter Blake Environmental Forum. Here Eamon developed his concept about ocean acidification. Through discussing his research on this topic he explained the reasons behind ocean acidification and the action that we need to take in order to prevent further damage to our oceans.

Eamon then took his research a step further and explained how ocean acidification will affect New Zealand as a whole. Eamon engaged with many businesses that sell marine products and showed them how the size of crustacean’s shells have been reducing over the past few years as a result of ocean acidification.

Eamon has been passionate about sharing his work with as many people as possible including business leaders. The issue of ocean acidification is not just an environmental problem but it also an economic problem. Eamon has statistically proven that marine business will see a reduction in profits over the next few years if ocean acidification continues to worsen.

In this way Eamon is combining his passion for the environment, science and economics to put our oceans into a multi-disciplinary context. Eamon is a great believer in the idea of science communication meaning that science should be understood by all people not just the scientists.

Eamon has always had a passion for working with sea life and so the protection of sea water bodies has always been a big focus for him. Although currently living in Rotorua, Eamon has family connections to Devonport in Auckland. Currently Devonport is a place full of marine life due to the fact that there are many beaches in the area. Because of this Eamon has realised that a place like Devonport has a great deal of bio diversity within a city and therefore it is of great importance that the water quality of the sea in the area is protected. This realisation sparked Eamon’s interest and because of this he has many case studies in Devonport looking at the effects events such as erosion would have on the oceans and the marine life.

Eamon has completed extensive work with the Rotorua Lakes Council around water quality. Rotorua is renowned for its lakes, a significant portion of Rotorua’s tourism is generated by the natural environment such as the lakes and so considerable resources are invested by the Council into examining new methods to protect Rotorua’s lakes. Eamon has been at the forefront of this action. Eamon has facilitated local schools, iwi and council coming together, allowing them to set goals for the coming years. Eamon recently completed a science fair project that looked at how to protect the Rotorua lakes in the event of an oil spill. On this project Eamon worked with Council helping them to put in procedures if there was an oil spill.

Eamon has assisted schools to take a more proactive role in the water bodies around Rotorua. He has been working with teachers to show that the rivers and lakes can be used as an environmental learning tool for students. The new focus is giving younger students in the district the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning. Currently all intermediate students have one lesson a week where they get out of the classroom and participate in hands-on learning. Out of this learning the following video was created:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js7P-TnXQqE

However, Eamon’s most important work has come from seeing how all water bodies affect each other. As we know water is in a continuous cycle of movement. Because of this it means that within days water that was once in the lakes will end up in the ocean. Eamon has been working with the Rotorua council to improve the water quality of Rotorua lakes in order to positively impact ocean bodies in New Zealand

Eamon has a proven track record with working for the marine environment. He has been a leader in his school, community and nationally. He is an intelligent and passionate young scientist. He has taken his knowledge of science and used it to help benefit the environment in a very positive way. Eamon is an Ocean Champion as he is consistently looking for new ways to help the environment. He has actively participated and contributed to many science forums such as The Sir Peter Blake Environment For. the Brisbane Environmental Conference and the Powering Potential Conference on Climate Change. In these forums Eamon shared his research passion by addressing the pressing issue of ocean acidification.
Recently at the Powering Potential conference Eamon was given the question of “How must New Zealand adapt to Rising sea levels?”. We live in a time of great change, climate change is affecting out world at an unprecedented rate, it is now our time to make a change for the environment. Over his time at this conference Eamon worked with scientists in the Wellington region to case study Dunedin. They examined at both the short and long term effects of rising sea levels on Dunedin, After talking to politicians and council officials Eamon and the team of scientists proposed steps that Dunedin could take in order to mitigate the effects of sea level rise.
I sincerely believe that Eamon is an ‘Ocean Champion’ given his extensive involvement and advocacy for the oceans at such a young age of 17. His efforts, passion and engagement on behalf of the ocean deserves recognition and encouragement. It is to young people like Eamon that our oceans will be entrusted for their protection and indeed survival.

In addition I would recommend that you read this outstanding reference written for Eamon by the local environmental groups of the area. It is as follows:

Eamon has been a very active member in the John Paul College, Rotorua and New Zealand communities over the past few years. I believe that Eamon is best described as a man of community and service. Eamon has lived in the Rotorua region for 13 years, and over this time he has strived to make a positive change in the community. I believe that Eamon has tried to emulate that the La Sallian values that John Paul College was founded on; Faith, Service and Community. Over my many years of teaching I have never seen a student with some much Kaha as Eamon. Eamon is not only a high academic achiever but he has a strong passion for working with youth to promote youth achievement in New Zealand.

Very recently Eamon has returned from Camp La Salle in Mangere, South Auckland, which is a camp for students who are from a low socio-economic background. Eamon has been a student leader on this camp for two years as he believes that it is a small way in which he can give back to the community that has given him so much. 40 students from Rotorua, South Auckland and New Plymouth attend this camp every year.

Eamon has been a part of many groups within the school. In 2015 Eamon has become a leader of the Pause, Prompt, Praise Programme, this is a programme aimed at increasing the literacy skills of children who have learning difficulties and come from low socio economic backgrounds. This year Eamon has again taken on the mantle. In addition to this Eamon has become a peer mentor to a year 7 student in the College, it is the big brother, little brother approach where the mentor is asked to help a younger student with their school work and help them to feel involved in school life.

This year Eamon was elected to be a part of the Rotorua District Youth Council and Rotorua Youth Voice. Eamon has always been an advocate for promoting young people and creating change that benefits the young population. Eamon has been privileged enough on the Rotorua District Youth Council to work with various council members to help bring about change for the Rotorua Environment. Eamon has been a huge part of the JPC Youth Environment team which has given him the opportunity to get the youth of today interested in environmental issues. Last year John Paul College won the energy wise conversation cup in addition to winning the Environmental Challenge this year.

Eamon is a believer in the idea that education is the key to creating change. Eamon’s passion for the environment was further after he won a scholarship to attend the Sir Peter Blake Youth Environment forum. Here Eamon worked with many governmental and non- governmental organisations to find new ways to solve the environmental issues of today.

Last year Eamon receive the Environmental award at the Bay of Plenty Science with his work with council to create and system that would protect the Rotorua lakes and streams in the event of an oil spill, please find the report attached. Eamon has since taken the idea and adapted it to suit the needs of the council, Eamon is also currently completing a project around improving the water quality of the Utuhina stream which flows past John Paul College

As a young person Eamon has always believed that creating multi-media productions such as films are the most effective way are helping people to understand the issues that exist in our world today. Eamon has worked alongside many local bodies to create educational videos about the local environment, one such video can be found attached to the application from. Eamon is active in getting youth involved to help with this project and educating the wider school community about the importance of looking after the environment.

Eamon always been an advocate for change when it comes to issues relating to young people. Eamon has been a Volunteer at the Sunset Breakfast club, which he attends often serving breakfast to the primary school students at Sunset junior which is a decile one school in Rotorua. Eamon has also worked with the St Vincent De Paul Fulfil van which provides Dinner for those in Rotorua’s poorest suburbs such as Fordlands. Eamon’s work with these groups has made him determined to address the problem of child poverty, as it is having a huge effect on many Rotorua children. Earlier this year Eamon helped to run a child poverty workshop with the Rotorua council, with the aim to collect the idea of Rotorua Citizens around child poverty. During this workshop many groups such as Love Soup Kitchen shared their ideas around this issues. Eamon then took these ideas and collated them into a report which he spent to parliament calling for immediate action around this issues.

Eamon has been a true role model of John Paul College. His passion for helping the low socio-economic students of the College has a had a very positive impact to the lives of these disadvantaged students. Eamon’s Fijian background has made him a true advocate for Pacific Achievement in the Rotorua Commitment. At John Paul College we saw the introduction of a Maori and Pacific Island achievement centre. This centre was established to promote and increase Maori and Pacific Island achievement at the college. Eamon has taken up the challenge and become a tutor at this homework giving up 2 hours of his time every week to tutor at this homework for free. Eamon believes that this is the least he can do for the Maori and Pacific community at the College.

Eamon was fortune enough this year to be selected to represent New Zealand at two international Science Camps through his various scientific researches that he has conducted this year, the first at the University of Queensland and the second in Singapore. Eamon said that the greatest part of attending these camps was the opportunity to share this knowledge with the students of Rotorua who have a passion for science. Eamon has done exactly this. Eamon is an active member at the General John Paul College Homework Club, giving two hours of his time on Monday and Wednesday every week to tutor for free. In total Eamon gives about 6 hours every week to tutor the younger students of the college.

Eamon has a huge passion for promoting Maori and Pacific arts in Rotorua. This year Eamon has been working with Bay of Plenty Pacific Island trust to re-establish the Bay of Plenty “Pacific Island Festival”. Through collaboration with other Bay of Plenty high schools Eamon has helped to re-establish this festival which will take place early next year. Eamon always believed that Maori culture can benefit the cultural of the school. Eamon has been an active member in Taiaha and Kapa Haka from an early however as a senior of the college has now decided to take on a tutoring approach. Eamon along with other senior leaders of the college have begun to school how to do the school Haka. This has worked to great effect and now there will be the first ever intra school Haka competition.

This year has also been elected to the Junior Chamber of Commerce. Eamon is well suited to this position as he has many successes in both the local and national businesses community. Over the past two years Eamon has been the CEO of two very successful businesses. In 2015, Eamon established Bath Bomb Supplies. This business was awarded Top Start-up businesses of the year by the Young Enterprise Trust which is based in Wellington. This year Eamon created another company called Affirmail which is a social enterprise aiming to help grow other businesses, schools and organisations through low cost and affordable marketing software that Eamon’s team has developed. Eamon’s work has been noted by the Ministry of Education and he is now a finalist in the “Ministry of Education Young Entrepreneur award”, to which the results are being confirmed, please find attached a copy of the Annual review of the business.

Eamon strengths lie also in preforming arts, his gift of public speaking has allowed him to be at the forefront of decision making about youth related issues. Eamon has been a part of Youth Model UN in 2015 where he spoke on behalf of the Youth of New Zealand about worldwide issues such as climate change and the refugee crisis. Eamon is also a part of the JPC Youth Environment team which has given him the opportunity to get the youth of today interested in environmental issues.
In conclusion Eamon is a good example of a young person that is working for the youth of today and I therefore believe that he would be a very deserving applicant for the Sea Week award.

Nominated by: Maree Stewart, John Paul College on 9 January 2017

Note: NZAEE Seaweek is not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by the person nominating the Ocean Champion nominee.

See all the Seaweek 2017 Ocean Champion nominees here.

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