Nat Geo photographers make guest appearance at Island School

February 5, 2016
By Marcy Shortuse

Nat GeoBY SUE ERWIN – National Geographic Explorers David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes gave a special presentation to students at The Island School on Wednesday afternoon.
The presentation featured unique underwater photography from around the world as well as photos of wildlife in Antarctica.
The photographers explained facts about the marine life to the students in an interactive way.
They showed a slide of the smallest shark in the world, a dwarf lantern shark, and pointed out features like the large eyes the shark has, which are needed to see deep down in the ocean.
Next, of course, were photos of the largest shark in the world, the whale shark, which can grow bigger than a school bus.
One student asked why the sharks do not bite them while they are swimming with them.
Jennifer answered, “We swim with them very carefully, and we let them come to us.”
David explained that they use pole cameras to take photos of the inside of the shark’s mouth, ensuring that the shark doesn’t get too close to them.
Another student asked which sharks are the scariest.
David replied his most frightening experience was when he went diving with tiger sharks.
The presenters discussed global warming and showed photos of harp seal pups taken in Antarctica.
“Our planet is getting warmer, and if this ice doesn’t remain there, these seals won’t be able to survive,” he said.
David then showed a slide of a fishery in another country where people slay fish by the thousands.
“Sharks bite humans … but what’s worse is that humans bite sharks,” he said. “So what I want to ask you as a class is to be committed to taking care of our planet. You guys have to help save it and study it.”
After the presentation, Jennifer said they never pass up an opportunity to speak with children.
“We often speak to huge groups of people who are bused in to the events. So to speak with such a small crowd was a treat. We love talking to the kids about what we do. We need to plant a seed in them at a very young age and get them interested in learning about our oceans.”
The husband-and-wife duo also gave a presentation entitled “Coral Kingdoms & Empires of Ice” on Wednesday evening at the Community Center that was organized by the Friends of the Boca Grande.