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How Shark Guardian are Inspiring School Children Through Education On Shark Conservation

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Brendon Sing and his wife Elizabeth Ward-Sing left their job running a scuba dive resort and teaching diving in Indonesia at the start of 2013, to embark on their educational shark programs full time. Brendon created Shark Guardian in 2009, an exciting and visually stimulating presentation covering topics such as false perceptions of sharks, the effect of media, shark facts, their role in the ecosystem, shark species and shark finning. Both are scuba diving instructors, Brendon is also an instructor trainer and Liz is a physiotherapist.

After becoming a scuba instructor in 1998, Brendon started educating his students about sharks and his past experiences studying sharks in South Africa. This continued in Asia from 2001, initially doing small presentations, but a larger event to around 100 people in Thailand in 2008 increased demand and support for the presentations and things grew from there. With the help of Liz and an initial visit to Bangkok and 4 schools in 2010, they have expanded into a unique partnership.

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Shark Guardian Projects at The Scuba News

Shark Guardian at The Scuba NewsSince February, Brendon and Liz have given the Shark Guardian presentation at 27 International Schools and 3 diving resorts in 5 Asian Countries, presenting to over 10,000 children and adults in around 50 different educational sessions.  They have been funding their trips with tshirt sales and school donations in the form of travel and accommodation costs, aiming to educate as many people as possible about sharks in order to reduce the demand for shark fin soup and shark products. Their presentations have inspired numerous children with the formation of ‘shark cadet’ groups and posters, videos, songs and  pod cats which children use to portray their understanding and encourage others not to eat shark fin soup.

From the first of July Shark Guardian became an official UK registered charity and Brendon and Liz now hope that they can generate some sponsors and donors in order for them to continue their education. With a 2nd UK tour in the planning process for the end of Jan/early Feb next year, they hope this will become a reality. ‘Although we predominantly do our presentations throughout Asia, which is where consumption of shark fin soup is highest, it’s important that our messages are spread throughout Europe, given as a whole Europe is the largest exporter of shark fins to Asia’ says Brendon. And they know their presentations are taking an effect with parents reporting that their children have become shark mad and refuse to go near restaurants selling shark plus reports of older children educating others, with evidence of students 2 years down the line still not eating shark fin soup after seeing the Shark guardian presentation.

Harrow‘’Teachers are also reporting that they have never witnessed their children so engaged or motivated throughout a presentation, nor after, with information and knowledge being retained to a level never seen before!’’ says Liz, ‘’we know our presentation is both engaging and exciting and to see the follow up projects is so amazing’’. Recently a group of year 3 pupils in Bangkok sung their shark song in from of their school audience as a present to Liz and Brendon and this is having an amazing response on You Tube, “Educating the younger generations on conservation and sustainability is vital” says Brendon, “and they have the power to influence others”.

Brendon and Liz are based in Khao Lak on the western coast of southern Thailand, supporting themselves by teaching diving there and in surrounding locations in Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Lanta. Their diving experience enhances their ability to educate on this subject since the children are always asking about their shark encounters and shark opinions! Shark Guardian believes that shark conservation and making a difference starts with a better understanding and knowledge of sharks and the vital role they play for all life on earth. Shark Guardian delivers this essential information for the next generation.

Learn more about the great work of Shark Guardian at http://www.sharkguardian.org


La Galigo

About Author

Liz qualified as a physiotherapist in the UK in 1999 and has combined this with working as a scuba diving instructor in Asia since 2009. In the same year she became involved with Shark Guardian alongside her (now) husband, Brendon Sing. Learn more about Liz at http://www.thescubanews.com/contributors/liz-ward-sing/

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