|Bethel Methodist School|
|Golden Rock Roman Catholic School|
We rounded out the day with a community presentation at Super Burger and were again pleasantly surprised by the crowd. Kids and adults joined us and engaging conservations were once again had after our talk. I love visiting schools, but it is equally important to engage with the community. These are the people making decisions, supporting regulations and promoting tourism and protecting the local environment. It also gives the community a chance to get to know the people speaking at the schools, our mission and why we do what we do.
The next day started earlier because we had a flight to catch in the afternoon. We visited the two other primary schools on the island, Lynch Plantation Seventh Day Adventist School and Governor de Graaf School. Claire gave away more prizes for incredible artwork and Mr. Sharky made an appearance after arriving in my bag (which decided to stay in Sint Maarten a day longer than I did) that morning. It always makes my heart happy seeing gets get excited and want their pictures with the shark. It makes sharks seem fun and we are all about replacing fear with fun and fascination. Getting kids excited and interested increases the likelihood of their continued positive outlook towards sharks as they grow up.
We had a wonderful trip and met some really passionate people making incredible efforts to protect the environment. Special thanks to STENAPA, CNSI, Shark Stanley and Shark Defenders. Collaboration can be a beautiful thing and working with Shark Stanley has been an incredible opportunity and a wonderful tool in our outreach programs.
Guest blog by Jillian Morris. Jillian 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. You can follow Jillian on Twitter.