Posts Tagged ‘Discovery’

Best Shark Week Finale – Volunteer for Sharks

shark turning in shallow dappled waterWe’re coming into the home stretch of Discovery Network’s Shark Week, that ratings bonanza that strikes gold in the channels’s viewership numbers and strikes fear in the hearts of some swimmers (though we know you are waaaayyyy more likely to die of the flu or crossing the street than of ever having a dangerous encounter with a shark). Let’s face it, if they wanted to, they could snack on us quite a bit, but they are absolutely human averse. They could never really even the stakes, however, considering  the millions of sharks we slaughter every year for their fins and cartilage—often unnecessarily cruelly.

so let’s look at some ways to counter the Da-Dum, Da-Dum Jaws soundtrack that thunders in your head every time you dip a toe in the surf (or jump in a pool or fill your bathtub). Volunteering with this world’s amazing shark populations is a great way to counter the press-inflated stories about shark attacks and understand these magnificent creatures. I’ve been lucky enough to have experiences with different sharks, from Great Whites to Whale Sharks to nurse, black-tip reef, and others…and look forward to many more. Sharks rock!

Enkosini Eco Experience in Gaansbai, South Africa, as well as White Shark Projects (who I dove with, in that same shark-heavy zone of South Africa near Gaansbai, known as “Shark Alley”) are eco-focused, environmental leaders, and have lots of openings for dedicated volunteers.

I’ve had the memory-of-a-lifetime experience of being in the water with the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme and can’t recommend volunteering with these folks enough. Science rules the excursions, but the pure joy of encountering such grace will be what you carry with you long after you get home (see previous blog posting here).

I’m a big fan of Earthwatch, and find myself extraordinarily intrigued by their shark study volunteer expedition in Belize.

Frontier Gap has a shark conservation volunteer program in Fiji, helping research species and increase international awareness and understanding.

How about a volunteer gig at the Bimini SharkLab – it’s a biological field station always looking for dedicated volunteers.

This is just a small sampling of shark volunteer options around the oceans of the world…dive in and find one for your next vacation. Tell Ian Ziering and Tara Reid we’ll meet them there.

Cell Phone Static Definitely NOT Honeybees Buzzing

Photo: Friends of Honeybees

I hate cell phones and I’m frequently confused and get lost easily. The only logical conclusion is that I must be part honeybee.

A new Swiss study has concluded that cell phones interfere with “worker piping,” a type of honeybee communication signal, and this interruption causes the bees to become confused and die—known as Colony Collapse Disorder. In 2009, we lost almost 29 percent of the bee colonies in the US. 36% died off in 2008. 32% gone in 2007. 2010 saw the die off continue, and this year we seem tragically on-track to lose record numbers. It’s not just losing bees, we are talking about losing agriculture. Our food sources from fruit and vegetable sources must be pollinated…by the bees that are being killed off. For the past few years it has been a crisis, and researchers posited theories about the cause being new pesticides, or some disease plague among the bees, or fungus…and now we find the weapon may be in our hand.

Discovery has a whole web page dedicated to Bees on the Brink where you can learn more. Some actions you can take include planting flowering gardens, and cutting back on any pesticide use you directly initiate or increase from your produce purchases (meaning hit the Farmer’s Market when you can).

The United Nations has initiated an International Alert calling for new efforts to protect honeybees…populations have declined 85% in some international regions.

Friends of Honeybees can help keep you informed, and also has a very cool expression of bee support in the form of jewelry. An amulet with a silver-topped vial holds a drop of honey–representative of the one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey that is a bee’s LIFE’S WORK! (yes–a fraction of a teaspoon is the entire production from the life of a single bee…Wow!). Honey seems an awful lot more precious to me now. FoH is calling it “The New Amber.”

Plant some flowers, eat organic…it works for us, and works for the bees…maybe even cutting back on cellphone usage…now THAT works for me. Can you hear me now?