The Beacon

Ocean Hero Finalists: The Shark Finatics

The Shark Finatics with teacher Robin Culler. Image courtesy Robin Culler.

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.

The Finatics have written letters to President Obama and Congressmen urging them to support legislation for sharks, and they also wrote to Mattel Toy Company in protest of a toy that encourages the harpooning of a toy shark. They even published a book entitled “Our Shark Story.”

Now in their fourth year of shark conservation, the Finatics have 25 current members and dozens of alumni. Robin says that while many of her students often struggle with speech and language, when it comes to talking about sharks, they don’t hesitate to speak up.

You can follow the Finatics on Facebook and Robin Culler on Twitter at @blueskyrc

Read about the other Junior and Adult finalists and cast your vote!


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