Written & photos by Baylie Fadool
Aug 31, 2022
Fall is already upon us! As we are reaching the end of summer and vacations are ending, tourism has started to wind down. There has been no shortage of wildlife sightings and groups coming in for us, though! Read below to hear all about August!
The Shark Lab was so excited to welcome our first teachers and educator’s course. In the past, Doc Gruber and Dr. Dean Grubbs hosted teachers from Broward County for a similar teacher’s course, but for this course, we expanded it to include educators all across the United States, Canada, and The Bahamas. The course was formed under the idea to share marine conservation with educators who may be from landlocked areas or places where students do not have easy access to the ocean. With the support of Save Our Seas Foundation, we were able to make it a scholarship opportunity to help make the course accessible. 14 educators (9 from the US, 2 from Canada, and 3 from The Bahamas) joined us for an absolutely incredible week. They received workshop tools and lectures from Dr. Dean Grubbs and learned about the amazing science happening right here at the lab from President Matt Smukall. Lectures were paired with field activities, allowing for up close and personal wildlife encounters. It was an unforgettable week, and we are excited to see how these teachers spread the important message of marine conservation and bring the marine world into their classrooms.
August Eckerd College Course
Eckerd College visited us for the third time this year, this time with faculty advisor Dr. Nancy Smith. Many of these students had been waiting to visit us since January of this year, so they were very excited to finally see the island. Each day was spent doing various field activities and receiving presentations from members of our team. Field activities involved snorkeling with Caribbean reef sharks, diving around a plane wreck and shipwreck, and feeding the Southern stingrays of Honeymoon Harbor. This was our last Eckerd College course of the year. We look forward to welcoming them back early next year and wish these students the best of luck as they begin a new semester.
Station Assistant, Dylan Baker, sadly left us this month as he is going on to pursue his Master’s degree in Europe. He enjoyed spearfishing, hammerhead dives, lobstering, and, most of all, playing pranks on his fellow crew members while he was here. We will miss you, Dylan, and we wish you the best of luck with everything in the future!