Western Springs teen sheds light on the oceans
Thatcher Creber of Western Springs gives a presentation during the Student Summit on the Oceans and Coasts in Washington, D.C.
Name: Thatcher Creber
Hometown: Western Springs
School: Junior at Fenwick High School
Interest: Marine-related studies
Updated: April 29, 2013 6:08AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — A pilot plan to allow high school students to shadow marine biologists and other professionals is in the works, thanks in part to the efforts of a Western Springs teen.
Thatcher Creber, a junior at Fenwick High School, along with three other area students developed Shedd Start: A Career Experience at Shedd Aquarium.
“We decided to make an activity at the Shedd to bring kids into the Shedd and have employees mentor them,” the 17-year-old said.
Shedd Start is the culmination of the students’ participation in the fourth annual Student Summit on the Oceans and Coasts. The summit was hosted by Coastal America and held at the Baird Auditorium in the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of National History in Washington, D.C. in early March.
Shedd Start is intended to eliminate barriers students may encounter to learning about aquatic careers. Once it is implemented, the pilot program will allow students to establish personal contact with individual members of the staff at Shedd, and could form the basis for more extensive career programs at a later date.
Creber has been involved in some capacity or another with Shedd for several years. He has held work study jobs and was also involved with Club Shedd, an afterschool program for teens, along with summer camp.
“My mom signed me up for camp when I was in sixth or seventh grade and I really liked it,” Creber said.
Creber was one of 22 students invited from the Chicago area to apply for the prestigious and highly selective program, which included an all expense paid trip to the nation’s capital. Ten of the invited students applied, and four, including Creber, were ultimately selected to participate.
Student delegates had the opportunity to interact with individual legislators, meet other students and tour the nation’s capital. The culmination of the program was an all-day session of panel presentations, posters and videos prepared by the student delegates and presented to a panel of experts. The students also prepared proclamations that they presented before administration and congressional representatives.
“My favorite was the speeches and meeting everyone,” Creber said. “We got to be good friends with students from Mexico and Vancouver.”
The delegation from the Shedd Aquarium presented their ideas for Shedd Start as participants with four other delegations in a panel that addressed Public Outreach and Awareness. Other panel presentations addressed the topics Ecosystems and Sustainable Fisheries, Marine Pollution and Ocean Acidification/Climate Change Impacts. Although the summit required long days and a significant amount of hard work, Creber said it has reinforced his interest in marine-related studies. He is taking classes in biochemistry and physics, and plans to take a class in human biology his senior year.
“I don’t know how I could make a living from it. I just know I want to do science,” he said.