Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shark Stanley Heading to Lake Worth, Florida

Guest Blog
by Carly Mejeur

Palm Beach Maritime Academy has participated in the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival for 8 years with the intention of providing our students with a creative outlet, and spreading the word about ocean life and issues. Our school's over-arching theme is marine conservation and awareness. Many of our students and staff are ocean enthusiasts and conservation advocates. For example, Steve Allen was a NOAA Teacher at Sea two years ago and as a science teacher, has brought so much knowledge and awareness to our team. Mr. Allen and a former art teacher, Yvette Pearson, (who is now our ESE coordinator) lead our school's involvement at the festival.

Last year we made a statement about lionfish in South Florida. Our reefs have become overcrowded with the invasive species, voracious predators which consume other fish not adapted to deal with them. This invasion is creating long lasting ecological consequences. Divers have even begun hosting fishing tournaments to help bring down the population and initially the artwork brought about a lot of confusion with tourists and even some locals. They wondered why we advocated for killing these beautiful fish. It was a great chance to educate the public!

We also did a shark scene and titled it after Jim Abernathy, Wyland, and Guy Harvey's movie, "This is Your Ocean: Sharks." Some of us were able to see the movie at his special viewing in West Palm Beach last year and it was an amazing inspiration and testimony of life with sharks and what could happen without them.

This year we have four sections on the street and one will be of the cover of the Shark Defenders new book, "The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends." We are so excited to be a part of the Shark Stanley movement and will be guest posting a short blog series about our own adventures with Stanley, Waqi, Reina and Pierre, as we bring them to life on the streets of downtown Lake Worth, Florida. Stay tuned for more pictures and information and if you live in the area, please come visit us Feb. 23rd and 24th.

Carly Mejeur is a marine life artist and art teacher at Palm Beach Maritime Academy

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