With so many incredible women living in the tropics, often going unnoticed on their little islands by the rest of the world, I wanted to take the opportunity to share their stories here. This series, Women Who Rock Their Rock, features island women in all their glory, inspiring others with the work they do and how they’re making a difference on their islands.
The woman featured in this addition to the series is working hard to educate the next generation about sharks, their importance in our ecosystem, and marine conservation.
MEET JILLIAN MORRIS
ISLAND: Bimini, Bahamas
NOMINATED BY: Me (Chrissann Nickel)
I met Jillian through this website when she reached out years ago to become a contributor. Not only have I enjoyed the stories she’s shared here, but I’ve been so blown away by all she’s accomplished in such a short amount of time. Following her on social media is inspiring and gives me all sorts of warm fuzzies for people like her who don’t just say they want to make a difference in the world, but actually put in the hard work to effect change.
Jillian is a SCUBA instructor, marine educator, and shark conservationist. While she is based in Bimini, she spends a lot of time island hopping around the world with her organization, Sharks4Kids. Jillian founded Sharks4Kids in 2012 because:
Sharks play a critical role in the delicate balance of ocean ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, shark populations are being decimated globally. The rapid decline in populations teamed with the man-eating monster stereotypes sharks have garnered over the years, have left sharks fighting for their survival.
The goal of Sharks4Kids is to create a new generation of shark advocates through access to a dynamic range of educational materials. Curriculum, games and activities will allow teachers to integrate shark education into their science programs on an introductory, intermediate or advanced level. Students can access games, activities and info sheets to satisfy their own curiosity about sharks. Photos and videos from scientists and conservationists bring an exciting element into the classroom and show students the beauty of the ocean.
Our team brings together scientists, educators, conservationists and professional videographers to create a unique opportunity for the next generation to learn why sharks need kids and kids need sharks.
Creating the next generation of shark advocates through education, outreach and adventure.
In a short amount of time, Jillian has grown the organization to include classroom visits, Skype lessons, Google Hangouts, and even a children’s book, Norman the Nurse Shark. Sharks4Kids has so far connected with over 60,000 students in 44 countries and 48 states in the US.
Jillian is passionate about creating the next generation of shark advocates. She especially hopes to encourage both young girls and women to engage with sharks and marine science, making room for them to explore what has long been a male-dominated shark-y world.
Through her stunning photography and shark documentaries – featured everywhere from National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, and more – Jillian both educates and inspires others to speak up and make a difference. The spellbinding images she shares of herself diving peacefully alongside massive, otherworldly sharks go beyond Instagram likes. One picture at a time, Jillian is helping to dispel Hollywood’s feared, monsters of the deep representation of sharks, showcasing them as the beautiful, ethereal creatures they truly are who deserve our utmost respect and awe.
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Do you know of an amazing woman on your island who deserves recognition for the difference she’s making on her rock? Send us an email and nominate her for a chance to have her featured in this series.