With the objective of strengthening ocean conservation, Sandals Foundation has collaborated with the marine educational organisation, Sharks4Kids, to engage nearly 2000 children in interactive learning sessions about sharks.
During a week-long visit to primary and secondary schools in Grand Turk, South Caicos, and Providenciales, the students learned about shark conservation, shark tagging, and science, as well as the lemon shark and other sharks found in the Turks and Caicos Islands' clear waters.
“As we continue to work towards sustainably managing and protecting our marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, it is more evident that environmental awareness is a crucial component of this process,” explained Georgia Scarlett, Environmental Coordinator at Sandals Foundation.
"Many people are unaware that sharks help to maintain delicately balanced ecosystems by influencing prey distribution and density," Scarlett added. "We saw how critical it was to assist in increasing environmental education about these species so that more people are aware, understand their role in enhancing biodiversity and benefiting from healthy and productive oceans, and change their perceptions of these creatures."
Jillian Morris, the Founder of Sharks4Kids, expressed similar sentiments, emphasizing the importance of shark conservation and the significance that this programme that engages children in shark education will have on the achievement and maintenance of healthy seas and oceans.
“Kids are the future for our oceans and for sharks. We must empower and inspire them. By providing facts and hands-on learning opportunities, we are changing fear to fascination."
Through this partnership, Sandals Foundation and Sharks4Kids participated in the recently held Turks and Caicos International Film Festival, which continued its ever-present theme, 'Oceans and Environment'.
This provided a larger platform for the continuation of enlightenment, empowerment, and inspiration amongst students, locals, and international guests. The teams took part in the Youth Day Expo, where students participated in mock shark tagging and a virtual reality shark dive. Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos also contributed to this awareness chart by sponsoring the festival.