Students from three different schools on Ambergris Caye were fortunate to be selected to be a part of the Kids Meet Shark Program. Spearheaded by Dr. Rachel Graham, Director of the Caribbean and Gulf Rays and Shark Program of the Wild Life Conservation Society, the program aims to build awareness and appreciation for sharks and rays as well as the important role the sea creatures play in the marine ecosystem.
According to Graham, the project started in the fall of 2011 after she won a monetary award. “This Kids Meet Shark program has been an incredible program. It started a few years ago with the support of funding from the Whitley Fund for Nature. Throughout the past few years, we have been taking children from Punta Gorda, Chunux, Sarteneja, Caye Caulker and now San Pedro Town. Amazingly, the San Pedro kids, you would think, they have all spent time at the reef or swum with the sharks and rays but they haven’t. This gives them an opportunity to become scientists for part of the day. We get them involved in all the sciences and techniques involved in monitoring sharks and rays.”
Approximately 75 students from Ambergris Caye Elementary School, La Isla Bonita Elementary School and The Island Academy participated in the expedition over the course of two days. The participants all had a wonderful experience and for some, their view on sharks and rays has taken a new perspective. Two such students are Kemre Rippon and Tahryneh Pott, both from The Island Academy.
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