I just got back from the First South Florida Conservation Party - three words that best describe the event: Passion, Unity, and Motivation.
- Passion: The event was attended by scientists, non-profit organizations, videographers, photographers, and by countless individuals that all share a common interest in protecting sharks. Various people presented ongoing and upcoming campaigns, new short films, exciting new research methodologies that will bring the general public closer to the field (virtually), songs, and public announcements.
- Unity: Three organizations organized the event: Shark Savers, Oceanic Defense, and Shark Safe Network. The overall message was that together as one voice things can get accomplished - as most evident in the efforts to protect Lemon sharks in Florida state water. One speaker mentioned: "A lot of egos in this room - let's leave those aside"
- Motivation: I think (at least I hope) that people left the event feeling motivated for 2010. A lot has been accomplished and a lot of work is still to be done. It was a real pleasure to hear Samuel Gruber say that he was overwhelmed with the Lemon shark effort and that he wants to get back into a conservation role.
- Niel Hammerschlag is now a professor - congrats! He is teaching two courses at University of Miami. He also mentioned to me that they will soon be launching a new program that will allow the general public to follow tagged sharks with Google Earth in (delayed) real time...looking forward to more information on this!
- Finally got to meet Joe Romeiro from 333 Productions - unfortunately we did not get a lot of time to speak. Joe presented Lateral Line - a short film on three pelagic sharks: Makos, Blues, and Whites. Great cinematography - Great short film.
- Shark Savers and Wild Aid have an excellent campaign currently running in China: Say 'No' to Shark Fin Soup
- Shark Diver Magazine donated ad space to the Guy Harvey Foundation
- Always good to see old and new friends:
- Nico Danan - Oceanminds
- Brendal Davis and Julie Andersen - Shark Savers
- Samantha Whitcraft - Oceanic Defense
- Samuel Gruber
- Neil Hammerschalg
- Lawrence Groth and Mary O'Malley (and Lupo) - Shark Safe Network
- Heard the two best shark songs ever
See all photos here