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Tampa Bay teenager crafts beach-trash sculptures, fundraises for ocean conservancy

Local 14-year-old Ryan Moralevitz is fundraising for ocean conservancy by selling handmade sculptures he created with recovered beach trash. A series of events are planned in honor of his ‘Fishes Wishes’ project.

When Ryan Moralevitz was only four years old, he fell in love with the ocean and decided he wanted to do something to help the fish that called the water home. 10 years later, Fishes Wishes is still going strong, the project he created to fulfill that purpose.

In honor of the approaching 10-year anniversary, Moralevitz has planned a series of conservation events and fundraisers to help support and sustain the local environment in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Housed on his ‘Mighty Cause’ page, the donations will go to area organizations Ocean Conservancy and the Tampa Bay Watch.

Chief among his fundraising efforts, the 14-year-old conservationist is selling sculptures that he’s made out of beach trash he and his family have collected during their regular beach clean-ups. Additionally, Moralevitz is selling handmade sun catchers and will be publishing a new book he wrote titled ‘InspirOCEAN.’

To top it all off, he has also partnered with the O.N.E organization (Ocean Needs Everyone) to have a large, group sea oat planting at Fort DeSoto Park.

“The islands are really important because they house mangroves, sea oats and lots of native trees and foliage which help to protect small animals and prevent erosion,” Moralevitz said. “They’re also over 300 species of birds that call it home and it is so cool that loggerheads nest there every year.”

Fishes Wishes aims to raise $7.7K for oceanic conservation

As of publishing time, Fishes Wishes has raised just over $1,000 of its $7,777 goal. The donations will help fund conservation efforts through Ocean Conservancy and Tampa Bay Watch, such as oyster reef restoration, community outreach, ocean trash removal and coastal replenishment.

While recognizing that protecting the environment is the primary goal, Fishes Wishes also pointed out how important the preservation of our waters is to the local economy.

“It’s crucial to have organizations that keep the waters clean so that people will want to visit,” Moralevitz wrote on his website, “and it is equally vital that these organizations receive support from the community so they can continue to help keep our waterways clean and thriving.”

For more information, visit thefisheswishes.com

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