- Name: The Shark Finatics, Ages: 13-18
- School: Green Chimneys
- Accomplishment: The Finatics raised $2,000 for shark research last year. They are dedicated to spreading the truth about sharks and working with organizations to get shark-fin soup off restaurant menus.
- Keys to Awesomeness: Knowledge, passion for preservation of sharks.
It's been more than 30 years since Jaws hit the big screen, but the fear of an attack from a bloodthirsty shark still lingers in many beachergoers' minds today. While shark attacks do occur, the Finatics at are putting an end to the hype.
The team works everyday in accordance with their motto, "learning, teaching, saving," to educate people about the importance of sharks in the marine ecosystem and how fear of sharks usually stems from misinformation. There is a one in 11.5 million chance that a person will be eaten by a shark, making them less deadly than the livestock the kids work with at the school's farm.
"The kids take a great interest in standing up to the unfair treatment [of sharks] around the world," Shark Finatics founder and Green Chimneys staff member Robin Culler said. "The Shark Finatics take every opportunity they can to educate the public."
The team, which has been around for four years, is currently made up of approximately 20 students. Prospective Finatics sign a pledge to continue educating people about these deep-sea creatures long after finishing school.
At Green Chimneys the team provides presentations during campus events. The group also works with national and international organizations to promote their cause.
"They are now involved in a project with the Shark Research Institute to try to get shark removed from restaurant menus as well as grocery stores," Culler said.
The Finatics raise money for shark research, mostly through bake sales, which allows them to adopt and track sharks for their own studies. Last spring, Oceana, an international organization dedicated to ocean preservation, awarded the team the 2010 Junior Ocean Heroes Award for raising $2,000 for shark education.