This year has brought a lot of great (and very fun!) opportunities to connect with various South Florida communities. The spring is usually a hectic outreach time for our team and this year did not disappoint.
Our lead scientist Hannah was a guest lecturer for Florida Atlantic University's Marine Science Seminar, presented for the Lake Worth Waterkeepers Society, and program manager Deb presented our work to more than 30 students who were able to join us in the field. We hosted tables at the annual ManateeFest, Tortuga Music Festival, the Florida Marine Science Educators Association annual conference, and Cox Science Center's Ocean Commotion Night. We attended the film premiere of Unmasking Monsters Below (which features board member Cassandra Scott) and were featured in several productions streaming online. The team attended FWC Commissioner meetings, NOAA Highly Migratory Species Division meetings, the IUCN's Shark Specialist Group's Human Dimensions Working Group, and presented our work at the American Elasmobranch Society's annual meeting. We even managed to host a trip to Tiger Beach in the Bahamas (after being postponed twice for hurricanes) and strategized with storytellers and public figures about making shark conservation content that inspires action.
Each of these events affords us the opportunity to connect with people who ultimately drive the changes needed to better protect sharks. Whether it is federal fishery managers who need our data or the public who can speak up for better policies, sharing what we do and what we know is imperative to move things forward. And that is at the heart of what we do, creating positive changes for a better tomorrow. We have created countless interactive presentations and outreach materials to engage with the public (a crowd favorite is our shark stickers from Sticker Mule - you can even make your own custom stickers on their website)!
We are grateful for those organizations who have invited us to participate in these events and we look forward to continuing this momentum throughout the rest of this year and into the next!