Written by Baylie Fadool
Apr 30, 2022
April was full of outreach, outreach, outreach! Read more below to discover our whereabouts this month!
We had our second Field Expedition of the year to kick off April! This week was full of new friends and shark adventures. The group absolutely loved Honeymoon Harbour with the Southern stingrays and diving with Caribbean reef sharks. We are sure that the families and guests on this trip are going to be lifelong friends, as they had so much fun together and really bonded while doing various field activities.
April saw a change in our Outreach Coordinator! Baylie Fadool, our Media Manager, has stepped into this role as well and already has so many new ideas, one which she got to participate in this month. This month was dedicated to outreach as we are so excited to be participating in the wider community again. It is important to share our message in any way we can, and being able to engage with other scientists, students, and the general public is such an important part of our mission. Read below to find out about the events we got to participate in!
Rock the Ocean’s Tortuga Music Festival
Rock the Ocean is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase public awareness about the issues impacting the world’s oceans and to support scientific research, education and ocean conservation initiatives through benefit concerts, brand partnerships, and entertainment industry events. Their benefit concert that they organize is called Tortuga Music Festival that happens on the Fort Lauderdale Beach in Florida. All of the proceeds from the festival go towards ocean conservation organizations. These organizations have the opportunity to attend the festival and have a booth to educate event attendees about their organization. We were so excited to be a part of this event’s 9th year and first year being completely sold out. Our booth had three activities: a ring toss game involving throwing the ring on the corresponding dorsal fin of the shark, getting to see what a shark feels like on an activity board, and guessing how different sharks breathe. Guests seemed to be most shocked about how a shark feels, expecting their skin to be super smooth when it is actually pretty rough due to their skin being made up of a bunch of tiny little teeth called dermal denticles. We had so much fun doing all the activities with everyone and are already excited for next year!
Stoked on Salt’s Ocean Conservation Day
The great thing about conservation festivals is that you meet some amazing people and learn about other opportunities while in attendance. Lisa Miceli-Capano, from the nonprofit Stoked on Salt, approached our booth during Tortuga Music Festival and told us about another outreach opportunity that she organizes. Her nonprofit contributes to the preservation of our beautiful ocean, beaches and living coral reefs that identify the special place where we live. They do this by conducting beach cleanups, selling merchandise to raise money for ocean conservation organizations, and through their Ocean Conservation Day. We were asked to attend this event this year and had an absolute blast. There were 81 vendors there spreading the message about their organizations and about the animals they serve to protect. At our booth, we had our large hammerhead statue to demonstrate shark workups. Children especially loved participating in this activity as well as in our dice game where you were a shark and had to try and cross the ocean without facing any threats. We are so thankful to the work that Lisa and so many other organizations in attendance are doing, and we were so thankful to be a part of this incredible event.
Shark Lab Puppy Rescues (and adoptions!)
For decades it has been characteristic of the Shark Lab to always have a rescue dog at the station. With Matthew only being a part time Lab dog these days, we had not had a pup for over a year. After fostering and re-homing two puppies in March, we were alerted that two more littermates were being surrendered on North Bimini. With the help of The Stray Dogs of Bimini and Island Paws Rescue, a team from the Lab were able to rescue the two pups who were in very rough condition. Some friends from Canada were visiting and instantly fell in love with the female puppy and named her Bimini. She was adopted by them and is now living in Canada with another Bimini rescue puppy! The other puppy was a very skinny and dehydrated male. On day one we decided we would foster him until he was healthy enough to be adopted. By day three we determined we were foster fails, and Ace was officially adopted by the Shark Lab! He is about 17 weeks old now, growing and learning so fast! He loves barking at mirrors, belly rubs, and chasing his big brother Matthew. He is already such a good puppy, so we cannot wait to watch him continue to grow!
In May, we have two courses coming up! One of the courses is from Coastal Carolina University and is led by Dr. Dan Abel and Board Member Dr. Dean Grubbs. Eckerd College will also be back this month with another course. We are looking forward to it and some other exciting things happening next month!