Starting to love nature…
Begins when we see it, experience it or fall in love with an animal that needs it. For many conservationists and biologists, this started at a young age and usually with a specific type of animal. Most biologists will recall going to the zoo, reading a book, or watching a TV show on that animal. It sparked them to learn about it, love it, and grow up wanting to protect and fight for it.
Animals bring us joy and consistently inspire scientists to advance new technology, engineer new innovations or develop new medications. They help us learn about ourselves and how the planet connects. Everyone has a favorite animal, but few animals invoke as much emotion as sharks. Adults and children either love them or shutter at the thought of them. Yet not everyone knows or cares how important they are for our oceans- and ultimately our planet.
Here is where Sharks4Kids comes in:
As a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, we are dedicated to inspiring students of all ages to love science, our environment and sharks! The founder, Jillian Morris, has used her background in science, diving, and cinematography to combine outreach practices and develop methods to reach as many students as possible around the globe. We visit classrooms in-person and virtually with Skype and Google Hangouts. Our website gives teachers free STEM based curriculum, while providing students with fun videos, activities and games. We even take students out to experience sharks first hand through snorkeling adventures or shark tagging for research.
My favorite part about Sharks4Kids is seeing a student’s eyes light up the first time they really get it. When a young boy in the Bahamas gets that he doesn’t have to fear the ocean he grew up next to or a young girl realizes that she can also be a scientist or diver. That’s what drives us as an organization. Sharks4Kids is about saving sharks- but it’s more than that. It’s about empowering students to be involved in science and conservation from an early age.
Sharks4Kids is proud to be celebrating our 5 year anniversary and reaching 80,000 students in 42 countries. Sharks4Kids has no plans of slowing down either. Along with developing more STEM based curriculum and continuing outreach, we have added “Shark Days” at the Marine Environmental Education Center (MEEC) at the Carpenter House in Hollywood, Florida. The director of the center is Dr. Derek Burkholder, who is also the co-founder of Sharks4Kids.
are filled with shark themed activities and lessons taught by shark biologists. “By the end of the lessons, we always have students asking us how they can become a scientist or what they can do to help sharks. I always look forward to these days at the MEEC and it’s clear that the students do too because the classes are always filled. It’s been an incredible five years of growth and I can’t wait to see where Sharks4Kids will be in the next 5 years.