Sea-life protector makes her mark

Sea-life protector makes her mark


UK scuba diver Emily Cunningham has been selected by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) as one of its “30 global leaders under the age of 30” for 2020. 

Cunningham, a trustee of the UK’s Marine Conservation Society, has been recognised for developing a marine education scheme designed to engage non-divers through virtual dives, as well as enabling underserved communities to experience UK seas at first hand. She is said to have secured £5.1m in funding for UK marine and coastal projects.

“Before I learnt to dive, I had no idea how amazing UK seas were,” says Cunningham. She began her training while studying for a marine-biology degree. “On my first sea dive, on a chilly February day off north Wales, my mind was well and truly blown!

21 September 2020

“Since then, I’ve been driven to share this awe far and wide and inspire others to take action to protect our amazing marine wildlife.”


As a 30 Under 30 awardee, Cunningham is set to receive ongoing support from the NAAEE, which next year celebrates 50 years in operation.

The 30 Under 30 programme has been run since 2016, and the organisation says that the resulting community of 150 leaders from 34 countries is having a significant impact on environmental education.



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