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St. Pete environmentalist, 9, is a finalist for Time Magazine’s Top Kid of the Year

Aside from working to save the planet, he’s a fourth grade student at Shorecrest Preparatory School .
Miles Fetherston-Resch, 9, is the founder and president of Kids Saving Oceans.
Miles Fetherston-Resch, 9, is the founder and president of Kids Saving Oceans. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
Published Feb. 18|Updated Feb. 24

When Miles Fetherston-Resch was 6, a trip to Amelia Island changed his life.

“I saw a polluted beach,” he said. “I thought, ‘the adults are doing something about it. Why can’t I?’”

He decided to found a sea life nonprofit called Kids Saving Oceans. Miles, now 9, has become a regular fixture at St. Petersburg events like Creative Mornings and Localtopia, talking about ways to protect the ocean. Before he turns 18, he wants to raise $1 million for ocean conservation organizations.

“A small goal,” said his mom, Libby Fetherston-Resch.

She and her wife, Jess Fetherston-Resch, have supported Miles as he’s launched an online fundraising store for sustainably made T-shirts and stickers, learned about public speaking and co-wrote a book.

Related: St. Pete boy wants to save the oceans. His moms are there to help.

Their son has spoken to the St. Petersburg City Council as well as the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in Washington, D.C. This month, he hit an even bigger milestone: being nominated for the cover of Time Magazine.

Miles Fetherston-Resch, now 9, center, poses with his mothers Jess Fetherston-Resch, left, and Libby Fetherston-Resch, right, at their home in St. Petersburg, Wednesday, April 29, 2020.
Miles Fetherston-Resch, now 9, center, poses with his mothers Jess Fetherston-Resch, left, and Libby Fetherston-Resch, right, at their home in St. Petersburg, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

Miles received an email encouraging him to apply for the Time Magazine Top Kid of the Year. The annual search, conducted by Time and Nickelodeon, looks for “kids age 8 to 16 who embody five key attributes: determination, passion, kindness, bravery and innovation.” More than 5,000 kids were nominated. This month, he was listed as one of 20 finalists on time.com.

An 11-year-old from Fort Worth, Tex., named Orion Jean won the title for being an ambassador for kindness. Miles is happy for him.

“I think that, well, he had a great thing going and I hope he does good things,” he said.

Aside from working to save the planet, he’s a fourth grade student at Shorecrest Preparatory School. He loves going to art class, reading graphic novels, and planning upcoming talks and books over gelato at Paciugo in downtown St. Pete. He does his best thinking over scoops of orange sherbet and cookies and cream.

“When I’m not doing this company stuff, I’m like your average kid,” he said.

While he didn’t win, the honor is still special to him and his family. And besides, he’s busy working on his second book and counting up his funds raised at Localtopia on Saturday. As of last weekend, he’s donated a total of $26,000 to organizations like Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Mote Marine Laboratory and The Marine Mammal Center.

“Humanity is really interested in the youngest generation and how they see what’s happening and how they feel about it,” Libby Fetherston-Resch said. “It really is moving, I think, to my generation to think about doing better, knowing that... kids like Miles (are) having to work so hard to clean it up.”

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correction: Miles attends Shorecrest Preparatory School. This story has been update to correct that.

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