Abaco Students Learn Ecological and Economic Role of Sharks

Fins up at James A Pinder Primary. Image: Sharks4Kids.
Fins up at James A Pinder Primary. Image: Sharks4Kids.

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]lorida based nonprofit Sharks4Kids teamed up with North Carolina State PhD student Enie Buhler to visit schools around Abaco the week of March 7. This education tour was made possible by a grant from the Save Our Seas Foundation and the team reached over 200 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 11 during three days of presentations. The presentations discussed sharks of the Bahamas, shark science and tagging, threats facing sharks and the Bahamas Shark Sanctuary.

The first stop was in Sandy Point at James A. Pinder Primary school to speak to grades 4-6 and pre-kindergarten. This was followed by two presentations at Crossing Rocks Public School grades 1-6. The next day the team ventured south to Cooper’s Town to speak to students at S C Bootle High School and then finished the tour the following day, speaking to grade 6 students at Central Abaco Primary School.

The Bahamas is home to ground breaking shark research and is arguably the shark diving capital of the world, so it is really important for these students to understand not only the ecological role sharks play, but also the economical. According to the Bahamas National Trust, one study estimated $78 million in revenue brought into the Bahamas each year from people visiting to dive and snorkel with sharks.

The goal of Sharks4Kids is to create the next generation of shark advocates through education, outreach and adventure. Students are encouraged and hopefully inspired to take action and know they can make a difference.

Special thanks to Save Our Seas Foundation, Friends of the Environment, Frank Kenyon Research Center, Enie Buhler and all the teachers who helped coordinate each school visit. We look forward to returning to Abaco to speak with even more students.