Would you get up close and personal with a shark? Most of us would probably say no, but that shouldn’t discredit how vital they are to our oceans.
That’s why one Port Charlotte woman uses playing cards to show kids that there is more to sharks than their bad reputation.
We introduced you to Katherine Baumgartner of Ocean Family Games back in October and now, she’s using her cards to teach marine science to students.
It’s not every day teachers encourage cell phones and playing cards in class, but, in this case, it’s all a part of the lesson.
“Our playing cards are pretty exciting,” Baumgartner said.
She is helping Palmetto Ridge High School marine science students learn about sharks right in the palm of their hands.
So this is how the playing cards work. If you have a QR reader on your phone, you can scan the code on each card, which will redirect you to Ocearch’s website, which teams up with Ocean Family Games.
That’s where you can track tagged sharks.
“I thought it was actually really cool because I’ve never seen something like that,” said high school senior, Morgan Gabauer.
Despite the fun and games, sharks’ value in our marine ecosystem isn’t taken lightly.
“Somebody yells, ‘shark’ on a beach today, everybody’s going to freak out,” said Palmetto Ridge High School Marine Science Instructor Kathy Schroeder, “but if they know that those sharks are there, and what are they for…they have so many good benefits.”
As predators at the top of the food chain, sharks help control other marine populations below them.
“Let’s say that shark populations are lower, what’s going to happen to the tuna population? It’s going to increase,” Baumgartner said.
“I guess learning more information about them and getting a better understanding helps you understand how important they are,” said high school senior, Voshon Siriac.
While many may fear sharks, they play a vital role in our fragile ecosystem.
Ocearch also runs a website that tracks tagged sharks and sea turtles all over the world and along the Florida coastline.