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Sharks and Schools add up to Success in Bimini
By Jillian Morris
Dec 26, 2012 - 11:37:31 AM

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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.

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