1. Description of Our Team
Our team consists of Rahsul (18 years old), Fred (18 years old), Frank (14 years old) and Ronald (17 years old). As we all live in South Florida, we are aware of the ocean and its importance in life. Florida is a water state, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. We also understand the significance and contributions of marine mammals, specifically dolphins and manatees which inhabit the waters of Florida. People in Florida and worldwide have a special connection with both these marine mammals. They are friendly, docile and comfortable around humans. For that reason, dolphins and manatees are at risk from getting hit by boats, ingesting marine debris and harassment.
As creating a website is a lengthy process, we needed to divide responsibilities amongst the team members. It was important that we utilized the strengths and talents of each team member. Rahsul assumed the leadership role and delegated roles to the other team members as well become one of the official spokespersons for the organization. Fred was selected to conduct the research. Frank was named the “official artist”, creating the logo and offering artistic suggestions for the website. Ronald was selected to organize and coordinate the project.
Our coach is Jamie Aquino, who is also our journalism teacher. Over a year ago, she suggested that we work together on a campaign to help wild dolphins and manatees. A former journalist and publicist, Ms. Aquino assisted us with establishing contacts and guiding us in the right direction to make this campaign and website successful.
2. Summary of Our Project
We are joining the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), as well as state, federal and international partners, in a campaign to raise awareness among youth of threats to dolphins, manatees and the marine environment throughout Florida. Our initiative is being launched in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in support of the Year of the Dolphin 2008, and is aimed at outreach and fundraising to support marine mammal conservation initiatives in Florida and elsewhere. We hope to spur local action to educate students and promote protection by addressing major threats to wild dolphins, manatees and their environment.
Across the globe, dolphins, whales and manatees face a myriad of threats; including death in fishing nets, prey depletion due to over fishing, pollution, harmful noise disturbance, collision with vessels, habitat loss and deliberate hunting. One of the major issues facing dolphins in the wild, and especially in Florida, is harassment by commercial and recreational vessels and interactions with fisheries.
Pier2Pier will initially raise funds to assist stranding networks in Florida, purchase recycling bins where old fishing lines can be collected to reduce marine debris and entanglement of dolphins in discarded gear, and work with the Bryan Adams Foundation to fund a high school and conservation project in Haiti.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:21-50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:4-6
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Although we have a DSL connection on all the computers in our school, the computers are old, outdated and slow. While we never lost any work, it did take longer than usual to access the internet and conduct our research.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
As one of us were in a different journalism class, it was difficult for us to meet to work on the project. However, as each of us had a different responsibility, we were able to work much of the time independently. Also, all of us on the team are involved in other school and extra-curricular activities, so it was challenging for us to find the time to devote to this project. Three of us are graduating so we are also busy applying to college and completing graduating requirements.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
This project has united students from many different backgrounds in giving selflessly of their time to help educate and create awareness of the problems facing our Florida state marine mammal (the manatee) and our Florida state saltwater marine mammal (the dolphin). This project has also created opportunities for students to get involved in a campaign that can really make a difference in the world!
6. How did your activities and research for this Doors to Diplomacy Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
As we are journalism students, this project is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn all aspects of journalism from marketing and public relations to news writing and broadcasting. In the process of creating this website, we learned how important technology is to get the message out to the global community. Using the internet is one of the most effective ways to teach as it provides the opportunity to conduct research, become a better typer, learn the art of design and discover the outlets available to find and disseminate information.