- Patrik Rollefson
My First Shark Education Presentation
It’s silly to think one of the most nerve-racking moments of my life was not getting in the water with Great White Sharks or learning how to hand feed reef sharks, but walking into the room where I would give my first real presentation on sharks to local elementary school kids. I was extremely nervous, struck with huge butterflies in my stomach, the room all of a sudden seemed very hot, and my mouth was like the Sahara Desert. To make things worse, I got lost on the way to the school, so I was a tad late and I thought the teachers and kids would hate me for it. However, that could not have been farther from the truth, the teachers and students were still so excited to learn and talk about sharks and all of a sudden that anxiety I was originally feeling melted away.
Once I got talking, the presentation was easy, and the kids seemed really interested in anything and everything to do with sharks. It was really fun to see them in awe of sharks and their awesome abilities, but my favorite part was answering the enormous amount of questions they had. It was truly astounding to see how many kids had questions, ranging from is Megaladon still alive and hidden in the Mariana Trench too what are each of a sharks’ fins useful for. Sometimes a single child would have like five different questions and I would have to go into rapid fire answer mode so that we didn’t run out of time or miss any of the other kids. Even after about a ten-minute question and answer session, I would still have kids come up to me and ask questions as their teachers were trying to herd them out of the room. It was such fulfilling experience to bring my favorite animals to these kids and see the same excitement in them that I find in myself. What I have learned from that visit and others since then is that the kids come in with both a little fear and fascination, but when they learn more about these wonderful animals that fear is overshadowed, or even forced out by their fascination and interest. It’s an amazing and hopeful thing, showing that with the proper information people can control or even rid themselves of their fear of sharks, which means a better outlook on the future conservation and protection of these astounding creatures.
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