WANTAGE — On Monday, Jan. 23,, award winning photographer Michael Patrick O’Neill presented to High Point Regional High School science students about his career photographing and writing about marine wildlife and environmental issues.
Rebecca Sarno, creator and teacher of High Point’s Marine Science elective course, which began in 2015, originally located Mr. O’Neill as a great real-world resource for her students. Sarno was incredibly impressed indicating, “ Michael went above and beyond to give a high-quality presentation. He presented beautiful photos, along with amazing stories. We are looking forward to
having him come back next year.”
Mr. O’Neill has written and photographed seven nonfiction marine life books designed to encourage school children to read, write and become involved in science and conservation. When not making photographs or writing, he is on the lecture circuit promoting a greater appreciation for the natural world, especially the oceans and their inhabitants. He has presented to over 500,000 kids in more than 400 schools in the US in the last 14 years. His images have appeared in hundreds of publications worldwide including BBC Wildlife, National Geographic Magazine, Smithsonian, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, among many others, and have won the most prestigious competitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Pictures of the Year (POYi).
In an interview after the presentation, Mr. O’Neill, a resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., offered, “While I present to people of all ages - from PK toddlers to graduate school students and teachers - my preferred audience is high school. Kids in grades 9-12 are mature, curious, smart and engaged, and I can discuss my work in a lot more detail, making the programs more educational and interesting.”
“Another aspect I enjoy about presenting to this age group — high school — is that students are starting to think about their careers. I want to show that anyone can turn their passion into a business, like I did, and that there are countless ways to make a living and have a fulfilling profession. I tell them that through a lot of hard work and academics, I was able to create a successful business out of my hobbies — writing and photography. The sky is the limit, but they’re only going to get there with a lot of dedication.”
Other High Point Science classes attending the presentation included Biology, AP Biology, and AP Environmenal Science.