For the 4th consecutive year, the Nature Foundation St Maarten organized Kids Shark Day at Buccaneer Beach Bar last Saturday. About 130 kids attended the event and had lots of fun; they learned about the importance of sharks and their role in our ocean during Shark Day. The event is also designed to introduce children to the beauty and importance of our oceans and marine life, and as sharks are one of the most important ocean creatures children should learn about these essential animals. Kids Shark Day shows the public that sharks are not frightening and dangerous, but that humans depend on sharks and humans need sharks to have healthy oceans.
“The interactive Shark Scavenger Hunt kept the kids active for a long while and taught them about the different shark species and their characteristics. The kids learned that sharks are actually very cool and are impressive with over 500 different species and adaptations to live in our oceans. This year the shark claying and face painting was very popular by the children; however all our shark activities were packed with enthusiastic kids. Many people fear sharks and rather have them seeing hunted and killed than alive, however we should be afraid if we do not see sharks in the ocean, because it means the ocean is in a bad state, healthy oceans need sharks. We should be proud to have sharks in our ocean and protect them for our future generations” stated Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern Nature Foundation’s Projects Officer.
During Shark Day kids could also show their creativity and art talents by making shark art from waste items under the guidance of the WasteFactory. “Many kids showed proudly their beautiful shark art to use made from single-use plastics. It is important to show children that trash can have a second life and every item can be used again, reuse is the way to go! Too often we use these harmful plastics only once, but forget about the impacts of them on our environment and the effort it took to make them. Single-use plastics should be refused by all of us in order to keep our island clean and healthy, however if you use any, please reuse it and don’t litter it” explained Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.
Sharks are not frightening or dangerous but an important contributor to the ecosystem and important to the local community as they attract valuable dive tourism. Sharks also keep the reefs clean of unhealthy fish, thus keeping the ecosystem in balance. Healthy oceans need sharks, we as humans depend on the oceans therefore we need sharks. Last year only 4 people died due to a shark bite on this earth, sharks are not a threat to humans; humans are a threat to shark as we kill 100 million a year.
Nature Foundation would like to thank all volunteers for their dedicated enthusiasm by assisting in the event, a special thank goes to the students from the AUC which assisted during the event regarding to their community action day. Thanks to Lagoonies Bistro and Bar, Sea Fun SXM, Go Fun SXM, Buccaneer Beach Bar, The WasteFactory, Ocean explorers, Rainforest Adventures for sponsoring and prize donations; Thanks to all the participating kids and their parents for joining the event.