Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Youth Ambassador Profile: Jillian Morris

Jillian and Shark Stanley
As Shark Stanley circles the globe he comes across young people who are working to save sharks.  These Youth Ambassadors inspire the rest of us, old and young alike, to take action to make changes in our own backyards.

Jillian Morris is the founder and president of Sharks4Kids, a shark education organization based in Florida. She has a behavioral biology degree and is a professional videographer and photographer who spends most of her time on the island of Bimini, The Bahamas swimming with sharks.

All of the Youth Ambassadors are asked the same set of four questions.  Here's what Jillian had to say:

When and how did you first become interested in sharks?
I saw my first shark when I was 8 years old snorkeling in Florida. I was fascinated by all sea creatures, but was especially excited about seeing a shark in the wild. I was hooked (no pun intended) from that point!

How are you working to help save the world’s sharks?
I honestly believe kids can make a difference and that is why I started Sharks4Kids. Our goal is to empower and inspire students to speak up for sharks and for the oceans. We are providing students and teachers with a wide range of educational materials and information, as well as connecting with them in the classroom. We have spoken with over 20,000 students in 25 different countries and 42 US States!

Who are your conservation heroes?
Rachel Carson, Sylvia Earle and my mom!

How would you suggest other people get involved in the protection of sharks?
Do not buy shark products (meat, cartilage. Jaws or squalene based). This is a simple easy step we can all make. Do not be afraid to ask what is in something. Make sustainable seafood choices if you eat seafood. Where did it come from? How was it caught? If there is bycatch, is it sustainable? Get involved. Find a local organization to help with; read a shark book to kids at a school, volunteer at an event or join a beach cleanup.

You can follow Jillian on Twitter.

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