Principal David Taylor knew us both already following Brendons’ trip to Brunei 2 years ago where he presented to the International School Brunei, Davids’ previous school. He was most adamant that we deliver our message to the whole school feeling it is such an important subject and he is keen that we build relationships for a long term educational program with SIS.
We presented to the whole lower school and then had 20 minute slots with each class so they could ask questions.
We even did a small session with the tiny children where we showed some videos and told them how great sharks are, just so they could go away with the words ‘shark’ and ‘no danger’ in their minds!!! Small plastic sea creatures including sharks made the event all the more enjoyable for them.
Late morning we had all the upper school together for a 30 minute introduction, then we had 40 minute slots with different year groups to finish the species and shark finning part of the presentation, plus finally talking about conservation ideas and our competition. This older group really had a buzz going in relation to our competition which is to develop a way to get friends and family to stop eating shark fin soup.
The Year 10′s have even had their project changed so that they can develop pod casts on shark finning!
By the time school ended and we were ready to head off to a PEW event for CITES, 2 infant classes had already made pictures for us, showing what they had learnt and the key messages. Another class had put up a display for us – such amazing responses and clear that all ages can take on board our key messages.
A year 1 student made a simple drawing of a sharks body with no fins, with blood at each point where its fins should be. This was such a heartfelt message. And the key themes ‘we love sharks’, ‘sharks are our friend’, ‘sharks are needed to keep our oceans alive’ and ‘shark fin soup is poisonous’ came out in full force. We look forward to seeing more entries when we re-visit SIS next Friday.
So after finding out about a PEW event in preparation for the kick off of CITES this weekend, we headed to the centre of Bangkok after finishing at SIS and met some instrumental scientists, PEW representatives, journalists and other shark activists, yesterday afternoon. It was great to finally meet the crew from FinFree Thailand and we will talk about more collaborations with them next weekend at the Global Issues conference we are part of at the Thai Chinese School.
A PEW representative gave a great short speech about the importance of this CITES meeting and how it could make it such an instrumental year for the shark. Dr Demian Chapman was also presenting his study in to shark fin identification and we had a good chat to him about his findings and also how important the research is for monitoring trading in China.
An overall fantastic day for Shark Guardian, finishing February with a bang and starting March with amazing hopes and expectations for a lot of great things for sharks.