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Shark Con Success!

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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.

Skyping for Sharks

By Chase Martin

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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.

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Having the Shark Angels use Skype in the Classroom is a great learning experience for kids, especially those who may not be able to see sharks in the wild or wouldn’t normally hear of shark conservation issues because of where they live. Additionally, the teachers love it, because they get to see their students actively engaged in something that these kids are interested in. Jamie’s discussions with these kids don’t end once the Skype session is over, however. After Skyping with students in Texas, for example, the kids wrote letters to their congressman, thanking him for taking action against shark finning and encouraging him to continue to fight for the sharks they love.

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While Shark Angels mainly speak to students between the ages of 9 and 12, their outreach is not limited to a particular age. Jamie spoke with high school students, those distracted individuals who seem to be the hardest to reach. While they were definitely a different crowd than what she is used to, Jamie kept their attention, as the teacher noted they weren’t on their phones during the talk and they keenly paid attention. Despite their silence and typical emotionless expressions, the high school students were able to take away the same ideas as elementary school kids; the plight of sharks around the world, and the need for shark conservation.

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The Shark Angels recognize the need for conservationists of all ages, as every person they reach out to is another individual who can be moved to take action and advocate for sharks. In the coming months, the Angels plan to visit many more classrooms through Skype; educating students about sharks and acting as a guide for the role these individuals can play in their conservation. These students are interested, as Jamie sees on their faces when she informs them about shark finning and other issues, and by the number of hands raised for questions.

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Of course, Jamie answers numerous inquiries from the students she talks to. They ask to learn more about the dangers humans pose to sharks, and how they personally can help protect these animals. But the best question Jamie has ever gotten from a student?

One from a young boy, who asked, “Do sharks have birthdays?”

And her answer: Yes, of course.

Jamie Visits Amagansett NY

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.

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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.

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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.

Western Australia, stop killing our sharks!

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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.   

Durban Protest: #NoWASharkCull

Save our sharks that are visiting Western Australia! Read more...

 

All Durbanites : come join the SHARK ANGELS on the KZN South Coast, let's stand together on our side of the ocean to show our disapproval of the culling sharks.