OCEARCH is a non-profit organization that performs groundbreaking ocean-based research on keystone species such as Great White and Tiger Sharks. OCEARCH supports leading researchers and institutions seeking data on the movement, biology, and health of apex predators. The collection of data is used to protect and conserve them for the future as well as enhancing the safety of the public.
OCEARCH founding chairman and expedition leader Chris Fischer recently paid a visit to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. The two organizations are partnering in an effort educate children as well as the Jacksonville community about the critical importance of sharks and their ecosystems.
Once thought to be mindless eating machines, sharks are highly complex creatures who face both environmental and human-created threats to their survival.
In an educational session on March 31, Fischer visited with over 100 students from the Discovery Montessori School and Seaside Community Charter School. Sharks have always captivated the minds of children. During the session, the students got to meet Fischer and hear about his exciting adventures around the world where he tracked, followed, and studied sharks.
The group ranged in age between five and ten-year-olds. During a video presentation on sharks, “Cool!” and “Awesome!” were audible reactions. Connecting children to the natural world through educational experiences and interactions is the path to future conservationists.
“We must engage and educate future generations of ocean stewards and scientists in order to have a sustainable path forward for sharks and the ocean,” said Fischer. “The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens made it possible for kids to experience ocean exploration and science firsthand. We are kid and science focused, like the Zoo, and are thrilled to have partnered on this event.”
For over 100 years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has aimed to inspire the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. The zoo is an accredited member of the AZA.