Shark Team in the mangroves ( L to R): Back: Ms Wallace, Grace Saunders, Joshua Fawkes,Pastor D. Rolle, Ranelle Orminski, Bryanna Roberts, Mr. Sweetings, Jaquan Saunders, Mr. Clark, Michael Timm, Ulf Marquardt Front: Paulette Guerrier, Duncan Brake, Jillian Morris
Photo: CJ Crooks
BIMINI, Bahamas -
Once again, the community in Bimini has come together on behalf
of sharks. This time a German production company was there to capture
the amazing moments on film for an upcoming documentary.
My husband and I are not from the Bahamas, but we love these
islands and they feel like home to us. When we asked about being filmed
we wanted to share our love for sharks and our passion for teaching
future generations about why they are so important. The kids of Bimini
are very lucky because they live on an island and are part of a nation
that is setting a strong standard for shark conservation across the
globe. The Bahamas established a 243,244 square mile shark sanctuary
in 2011. Many marinas, including five in Bimini, are also part of the
Shark Free Marina Campaign, prohibiting the landing of sharks or fishing
for them from their docks.
Six students and four teachers from the Louise McDonald High School
along with some of the Bimini Biological Field Station (Sharklab)
staff joined us for an educational adventure in the mangroves. We trekked
through narrow mangrove channels in order to find some baby lemon sharks
that seek shelter among the roots during the higher tides. The mangroves
provide vital nursery areas for these little sharks as well as juvenile
conch, lobster and snapper.
The team interacting with wild sharks in the mangroves: Photo: CJ Crooks
The students were nervous and excited as the little
sharks slowly made their way in to check us out. Each student had the
chance to feed a baby shark and any fear or misunderstanding was quickly
replaced with awe and a competition to see who could feed the most sharks.
Even the teachers, who were a bit hesitant at first, made their way
to the front to each have a moment with the little sharks. Lots of laughter
filled the mangroves as a beautiful connection between human and animal
was made. Everyone was sad to leave, but we walked away with an amazing
experience that I hope each person will share with friends and family.
Principal Sands was thrilled at the opportunity for
his students and is now eager to get out there himself. We look forward
to future science and conservation adventures with the students of Bimini.
Thank you to the Sharklab, Louise McDonald High School,
Principle Sands, Lisa Wallace and Marquardt Media for making such an
amazing day a reality.