Many people do not know that deaths by bicycle accident, dog bite, or even sand are more likely than death by shark attack. However, every attendee of the Marine Biology Club’s annual Shark Week presentation now knows these and many other shark-related fun facts. For three years, the Marine Biology Club has hosted our campus’s very own Shark Week to raise awareness for ocean conservation and shark endangerment.
Shark Week, which coincided with international Earth Week this year, began on Mon., Apr. 17 when WAHS News aired a video about the evils of shark finning and some common misconceptions about sharks. Marine Biology Club president Sophia Donskoi gave 30-minute presentations in the Environmental Education Center after school Wed. Apr. 19 and Fri. Apr. 21 about the different species of sharks and the issues plaguing sharks. Any student who attended a presentation and completed an online Quia quiz about sharks was eligible to receive extra credit in his or her science class (excluding AP) as an added incentive to come learn about an important environmental issue. Also on Friday, the club hosted a bake sale and sold shark tooth necklaces. According to Mrs. Versteeg, the teeth were not taken from sharks killed for their teeth.
In years past, the Marine Bio club has donated the profits from Shark Week to organizations such as Ocean Conservancy and Wild Oceans. The club will meet soon to pick a shark-centric organization to donate to this year, as they raised almost $200 through the bake sale and necklace sale.
“My favorite part about shark week is definitely the bake sale. Of course, it’s great to see everyone showing up to presentations, but at the bake sale we are able to tell people their purchases directly benefit sharks, which is a big deal,” Donskoi said. In her mind, the purpose of shark week is to make students aware of shark endangerment and ocean endangerment in general, as many people either don’t see these issues as immediate or disregard them because of misconceptions held about sharks. “Climate change, animal and ecosystem endangerment and other environmental issues are pressing and it’s imperative for our generation to work toward solving them. It’s about how losing one species can impact the whole planet, and how the selfishness of people can lead to devastating effects,” she said.
Sat., Apr. 22, the Marine Biology club, along with partner club Black, Gold and Green, had planned to take a field trip to John Pennekamp State Park to conclude Shark Week with a fun snorkeling experience. However, rough seas and strong winds caused the trip to be cancelled, and club advisors are working to reschedule it before the end of the year.
Overall, Donskoi loves the enthusiasm students have shown towards Shark Week and its events. “We are all so happy with this year’s turnout at presentations and the funds we raised. We hope that it only gets better next year.”
The Marine Biology Club meets every other Thursday in room 8201.