Ocean Champion and Author Nicole Miller

Fri, 13 January 2023

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New Zealand has many amazing people working to protect and restore the marine environment. The Ocean Champion Challenge celebrates the work of people who have contributed to advocating for the ocean in a special way. 

The winner of 2022’s Ocean Champion Challenge, Nicole Miller, is an inspiring mother, teacher, and writer. Nicole began writing children’s stories and songs as a creative outlet for healing and for enjoyment, but most of all, to educate and entertain her two children. Her children’s book Celia Seagull and the Plastic Sea follows a seagull’s nest-building journey in a plastic-polluted sea. The story emphasises the importance of protecting our marine environment and demonstrates the dangers of overlooking plastic as a serious threat to our oceans and marine creatures.
In 2019 Nicole was finalised for the Joy Cowley Award for the manuscript Celia Seagull and the Plastic Sea, and her dream to publish Celia Seagull became a reality. Since then, over 1000 copies of Celia Seagull and the Plastic Sea have been distributed to New Zealand schools thanks to support from the Bobby Stafford-Bush foundation. Nicole’s book has since been endorsed by Jane Goodall!

“A delightful story that speaks to the harm that is caused by the plastic waste that ends up in the sea. The message is clear: we must dispose of plastic safely and help all life in the ocean”

Dame Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE Founder of The Jane Goodall Institute & United Nations Messenger Of Peace
Following the book’s release, Nicole visited schools to discuss the issue of marine pollution with students and share her book. Her Q&A sessions about writing and publishing, as well as her Writer’s Workshop with Vardon School, have encouraged creativity in students and helped them to develop their writing skills. 
As a 2022 Ocean Champion Challenge winner, Nicole Miller has greatly contributed to marine conservation. Her writing and engagement with schools have fostered responsibility towards our marine environment and hope towards mitigating the issues it faces. Much of Nicole’s writing is centred around the ocean. Nicole says, “I have been writing whenever I get a moment free, which isn’t as often as I would like!” Although Nicole has been busy, she’s also recently collaborated with Mattel for a giveaway of a recycled plastic Dr Jane Goodall barbie and a copy of Celia Seagull and the Plastic Sea! Check out @nicole_miller_writes on Instagram and be on the lookout for giveaways and collaborations with sustainable brands.    

“A beautifully illustrated book that tells a story of hope as well as drawing children’s attention to the plight of our ocean”.
Janice Marriott, an award-winning NZ children’s author
New Zealand Coastal Society has been sponsoring the Senior award category since 2018, the $500 cash prize was well received by Nicole, who remarked that she could use those funds to pay stall fees at markets where she sells her books and does public outreach. You can purchase a copy of Nicole’s book at celiaseagull.com and take a look at these teaching resources to go along with it!
Have you or someone you know taken action towards conserving our ocean environment? We are looking for short video entries sharing your stories for 2023’s Ocean Champion Challenge. Apply or nominate another person by the March 31st closing date or check our Ocean Champion webpage for more information: seaweek.org.nz/oceanchampionchallenge
We look forward to hearing your stories!