“There will be some Shark Week appearances that were partly made possible by the WAVE Foundation,” said Dr. Craig O’Connell, co-founder of the O’Seas Conservation Foundation (OCF). “If it wasn’t for (the WAVE Foundation’s) funding, I wouldn’t have been able to follow my passion for shark conservation.”
O’Connell and his work with the OCF will be in the follow Shark Week episodes:
Ninja Sharks (Wednesday, July 8 | 10 p.m. ET)
Shark After Dark (Thursday, July 9 | 11 p.m. ET)
Shark Island (Sunday, July 12 | 8 p.m. ET)
In 2014, the WAVE Foundation contributed $4,500 to the OCF to assist with shark science and youth education. The funds were used to help study the life history characteristics of the common thresher shark, smooth hammerhead and white shark in the Atlantic Ocean near the New York and New Jersey. WAVE Foundation’s donation was also used to develop a youth education program to provide students with skills to excel in marine biology.
By integrating shark tagging with youth education, this innovative approach has increased the knowledge pertaining to an understudied species and has helped secure our future through the education and motivation of our environmentally conscious youth.
“The funds from the WAVE Foundation have been put to good use,” said O’Connell. “We have made many discoveries, including observing common thresher, white, smooth hammerheads, and huge mako sharks feeding around our longlines. This will yield a complexity of studies that will largely contribute to species conservation!”
O’Connell stated the most important aspect of the WAVE Foundation’s contributions were the marine biology experience gained for his approximate 25 students, who range from 5th to 12th grade.
“The funds from the WAVE Foundation were used to essentially sponsor these kids and the experience they gained, and the smiles they left, which is something I will forever cherish, so I want to thank you again,” said O’Connell. “This funding has changed my life!”
The WAVE Foundation also contributed to the OCS in 2013 in the amount of $750, which was used to purchase materials necessary for one of O’Connell’s project aimed to decrease the amount of shark mortalities caused by beach nets and produce an eco-friendly alternate solution to netting in the form of magnets.
About WAVE Foundation
The WAVE Foundation is an independent, educational non-profit organization at Newport Aquarium, which strives to excite, engage and educate the community about aquatic life and the importance of conservation. Its programming initiatives exist in three core areas: education, conservation and volunteerism. WAVE provides unique education curriculum and experiences for students of all ages; supports and provides leadership in local, national and global conservation efforts; and has a vibrant volunteer program with over 500 dedicated volunteers.
About O’Seas Conservation Foundation
Established in 2013, the O’Seas Conservation Foundation (OCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that actively participates in wildlife conservation projects all over the world. Founded by Dr. Craig O’Connell and Dr. Nicole O’Connell, OCF was established to conduct local and global conservation engineering, population dynamics, and other field studies focusing on some of the most endangered species on the planet. However, with a home base in New York, OCF’s key focus is to characterize the shark, skate and ray fauna in local waters to help obtain valuable population dynamics and structure-related data for several critical species. Besides this, OCF is unique in that it runs summer programs for 6th-12th graders, giving them the opportunity to be part of shark research projects and inspiring them to pursue a career in the field of conservation/marine biology.
For more information on Newport Aquarium, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474).
Newport Aquarium, voted the No. 1 aquarium in the country by USA Today’s 10Best.com in 2012, has showcased thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water since 1999. Named a top U.S. aquarium by US City Traveler and Destinations Travel Magazine in 2014, and also by Travel Channel in 2013, Newport Aquarium is a Herschend Family Entertainment company and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Newport Aquarium is open to the public 365 days a year and is located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.
One Aquarium Way | Newport, KY 41071 | 859-261-7444