[dropcap]C[/dropcap]reating the next generation of shark advocates through education, outreach and adventure, is the main goal of Sharks4Kids. We are developing new programs to get students out in the field for a hands on science experience and our April shark tagging trip in the Florida Keys was a huge success.
Sharks4Kids teamed up with Seacamp/NHMI and Dr. Jeff Carrier and we were joined by six young women from Sugarloaf School for two days of intense study of sharks and participation in ongoing shark research project.
The women were chosen by classroom teacher Alena Leipzig and were treated to background lectures and interactive shark discussions followed up by hands-on tagging of nurse sharks. Nurse sharks are incredibly hardy and are an ideal species for this type of science immersion for students.
Each young woman got to conduct a work up on a shark which includes measuring the total length (snout to the tip of the tail), weighing, taking a DNA sample (small tissue sample from the dorsal fin of the shark), inserting a PIT tag (like a microchip for your cat or dog) and a roto tag (external identification). The students learned about the importance of tagging these animals as a means of better understanding their movements and behaviors. Better understanding then leads to better protection and management.
In all, ten sharks were caught, weighed, measured, and tagged, then released by the students. The cooperative effort between Seacamp and Shark4Kids was intended to provide an opportunity for actual participation in basic research in hopes of introducing the participants to the real world of marine science research. To learn more about our shark education programs check out www.sharks4kids.com.