This is the ninth in a series of posts about the 2010 Ocean Hero finalists.
The Shark Finatics are a group of students at Green Chimneys School in Brewster, New York. Green Chimneys is renowned for helping emotionally injured children through animal-assisted therapy.
Teacher Robin Culler has worked in the Speech Department for over 11 years. When she read a book about sharks aloud to her students, they were horrified to learn about the brutal practice of shark finning and vowed to tell as many people as they could.
The students, who soon became known as the Shark Finatics, decided to "adopt" a shark. They helped make shark magnets to raise money for their first shark, Jonny, from Fox Shark Research. In 2009, they were proud adoptive parents to 21 sharks.
Through various projects, they have raised more than $2,000 for shark research and conservation organizations around the world. And they have reached out to hundreds of people about the threats facing sharks.
This is the eighth in a series of posts about this year’s Ocean Hero finalists.
Gillnet fisheries use hundreds of yards of fishing net that remain in the water for days or longer, ensnaring sea turtles and other species incidentally.
Carolyn was inspired to act after visiting Jean Beasley’s sea turtle hospital in Topsail Island, NC several years ago. She decided to undertake a grass roots advocacy effort to help save sea turtles as her Girl Scout Gold Award project.
This is the seventh in a series of posts about this year’s Ocean Hero finalists.
Last week I highlighted our adult Ocean Hero finalists, so this week it’s the juniors’ turn. First up is 13-year-old Ayla Besemer, who may just be the next Al Gore -- for the oceans. (Except she is way cuter.)
Inspired by the beauty of the creatures in the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” 13-year-old Ayla and her friend Simon created “Save Our Seas,” an interactive presentation kids everywhere can give that highlights ocean threats and 15 actions kids can take today.
To date, Ayla has given her “Save Our Seas” presentation to more than 1,500 people in seven states and the Bahamas.
Sam Lardner is a musician making a difference for the oceans. Lardner started a musical awareness and outreach campaign to enlighten children ages 5 to 13 and their families about the issues facing the world’s oceans.
I just listened to his CD, “Oceans are Talking” and I have to say -- I know it’s for kids, but I found the melodies quite catchy. Lardner manages to communicate serious issues about the oceans in a fun and engaging way through song. His voice is reminiscent of James Taylor, and he has backup from some talented young voices.
I recently got some very heartening news here at Oceana from some of our youngest supporters.
The seventh and second grade students at Good Shepherd Episcopal School in Dallas, Texas were inspired by our “Scared for Sharks” campaign and raised more than $2,500 for Oceana through a week of bake sales and a “Caring Color Day,” where students wore blue and gray "shark colors" and donated $2 each.
It was especially nice to hear this news in light of the recent decision by CITES not to protect endangered marine species, including sharks.
Of course, Oceana is still moving forward to protect sharks around the world. We’ve already helped the United States become a leader in shark protections, and we’re continuing to push the U.S. to put a final end to shark finning, the brutal fishing practice that is responsible for tens of millions of shark deaths every year.
We’ll use the donation from the students of Good Shepherd to continue to fight to save sharks. You can help today, too, by donating or asking your senators to support legislation that ends shark finning.
Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana.
We frequently get e-mails from Wavemakers who have questions or comments about our work. But every once in a while we get stories that just plain make our day. We got such an e-mail on Friday from a father named Frank. He wrote:
My son, who is 8 years old, has started a charity on his own. We read an article about how marine animals are dying from starvation after mistakenly eating plastic bags...especially sea turtles. So my son saved his money all summer (from picking up dog poop in our back yard) and used the money to buy reusable shopping bags.
Eleven-year-old sea turtle activist and 2009 Ocean Hero nominee Casey Sokolovic and her parents visited Oceana HQ in Washington, DC last Friday. Coincidentally, I was in North Carolina last week on the sea turtle nesting expedition you've been reading about, so I didn't get the chance to meet her. We traded places -- she was in the office, and I was looking for sea turtles nesting and visiting the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center where she volunteers. To raise money for the Center, she has held bake sales (with turtle-shaped cookies, of course), and has worked with NC coffee brewery Joe Van Gogh to create an organic sea turtle blend. Her coffee is now being carried in Whole Foods stores throughout the Carolinas, with 10% of the proceeds going to the center.