501c3 United States based charity
Hi, My name is Alexi and I am 13 years old, in 7th grade, at Myrtle Grove Middle School in Wilmington, NC. I recently finished a school project called the problem/solution project … I was to research a problem in the world that could be anything from the environment, to cancer, to child abuse, etc. It had to be a problem that we were passionate about. I decided to do my project on the Misconceptions of Sharks and Shark Finning. Living on the coast of North Carolina, my whole family surfs...a lot! We have seen many sharks out here and every time I saw one it had always scared the heck out of me! I wanted to learn more about sharks so that way I wouldn't be scared of them when I went in the water. In the beginning I was planning on doing the project with four of my other friends, but they decided they weren't that interested anymore. I was torn because I wanted to do the project with them but I also had this gut feeling about doing my project on sharks. In the end I chose to stick with my idea and do it myself!
During the weekend of May 3-4, Shark Angels were in Tampa, Fla., for Shark Con, an event aimed at raising awareness for shark conservation. The weekend-long event consisted of various booths and exhibitions from groups nationwide and a wide range of speakers, of which Shark Angels’ own Julie Andersen was a part of, speaking that Saturday.
By Chase Martin
As part of the Shark Cherubs program, the Shark Angels have been increasing their conservation education goals by talking about sharks with students through classroom visits. But while in-person visits are a common outreach practice, the Angels’ educational outreach reached a new level when Jamie began using Skype in the Classroom. No longer limited to only local schools, the Shark Angels are now able to bring shark conservation into classrooms across the country. So far, Shark Angel Jamie has spoken to audiences in Texas, Ohio, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, and have even crossed the northern border to talk about sharks with students in Canada.
by Chase Martin
When not reaching out to distant classrooms through Skype, the Shark Angels enjoy visiting local schools, where their shark discussions are more personal and interactive. Last November, Jamie visited a school in Amagansett, N.Y., where she talked to four different classes.
For each class, Jamie started by introducing herself and the ideas and goals behind Shark Angels. She then asked the kids questions related to sharks, including which ones they have seen in the wild and who is scared of sharks. This allowed for a transition discussion about how sharks are misunderstood, and the reality behind their nature and vital niche in the environment. She informed the students on basic shark biology, some interesting facts and the plight sharks are facing due to shark finning and commercial fishing. Though young, these kids learned valuable key terms, including fishery, bycatch and overfishing,
While very informative, Jamie likes to keep her visits fun and interactive. She brings props like fossilized shark teeth and shark puppets to better explain their biology and feeding habits, and uses PowerPoint presentations and videos to complement her discussion. Some of the presentation slides bring other interactive elements with multiple choice and true/false questions, which are both fun and informative for the kids. At the end of each presentation, there is a question and answer session, and Jamie normally sees great reactions from the excited kids, who want to talk all about their favorite sharks and which ones they have seen in the wild.
With the teachers help, Jamie suggested that the kids write to Governor Cuomo of New York, in order to thank him for signing the shark fin bill and making it a law. After sending the handwritten letters to the governor, Jamie received a response, in which Cuomo thanked the Shark Angels and the students for their interest in advocacy and government participation.
The students that the Angels are able to visit in person really enjoy the opportunity to hear about sharks and learn that they themselves can help with shark conservation. As we know, these kids are the next generation to hold the fate of the planet in their hands. With visits, both personal and digital, by the Shark Angels, hopefully we can inspire them to seek change, one classroom at a time.
A plea from the Shark Angels
South Africa is famous for our enlightened, balanced view of nature. Tourists flock to see our big seven on land – and underwater - and we lead the world with innovative conservation strategies. We understand the fragile balance of life and the importance of a healthy environment to our country’s economics.
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501c3 US Based Charity
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