Interns from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy educated visitors about sharks at Lighthouse Beach last summer with the group's “Shark Smart” program. An expanded program will return this summer. FILE PHOTO

MA - 'Shark Smart' Education Program To Be Expanded This Summer

Last summer's “Shark Smart” education program at Lighthouse Beach was a success and will be expanded to other locations this coming summer.

Marianna Long, Education Director at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, told park and recreation commissioners last week that while the exact number of people who stopped by to listen to interns talk about great white sharks three mornings a week was not tracked, 10 to 25 people per day participated. The AWSC plans an expanded the program at Lighthouse Beach this summer, and is working with the Cape Cod National Seashore and the town of Wellfleet to bring the program to more beaches.

Last summer was a pilot program to find out how the public would respond to the program, which involved AWSC interns providing educational information and shark safety tips at Lighthouse Beach every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning from 9 to 10 a.m. “The program overall was a big success,” Long said, attracting a lot of media attention. The crowds were biggest on Wednesdays, she added, with Monday being quieter and Fridays “steady.”

The non-profit organization, which runs the Chatham Shark Center and provides financial support for Dr. Greg Skomal's shark tagging studies, requested permission from the commission to expand the program at Lighthouse Beach with a tent and table and longer hours. Various “props” would be used to educate visitors, Long said, including models of shark tags, shark teeth and maybe even a replica of a great white shark jaw. The table would allow the display of photographs and the tent would provide shelter for those running the program.

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