Having just returned from a shark research expedition in Chile, OCEARCH Founding Chairman and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer visited Brookfield Zoo on April 24, to speak to Chicago Public School students. This rare opportunity for local students to hear firsthand about great white sharks and other species from a global leader in the field was facilitated by Patten CAT, the authorized Cat dealer of 17 counties of northern Illinois and 2 counties in northwest Indiana.
Since 2007, Fischer has led 19 global expeditions with his non-profit OCEARCH to advance science and education while unlocking the many mysteries surrounding the life history of white sharks and other giants of the ocean.
During his visit to Brookfield Zoo, Fischer engaged 6th through 8th graders from Grimes Elementary School and John H. Kinzie School about why sharks are important to the ocean’s ecosystem and how collecting data is helping ensure the species future and that of the ocean. Additionally, he demonstrated how the students can go online to access the Global Shark Tracker and follow tagged sharks. Through compelling video and images, Fischer conveyed the message that no matter where you live that you can make environmentally conscious choices, which can have a positive impact on the natural world, including the ocean and its inhabitants.
“The Society’s partnership with Patten CAT is allowing these Chicago Public School students a unique opportunity to be able to listen and learn from someone who is on the cutting edge of science,” said Alejandro Grajal, senior vice president of conservation, education, and training of the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo. “We are vested in inspiring children toward STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) related fields that they otherwise would not have a chance to connect with in this area of science.”
Facilitating millions of dollars in collaborative ocean research, Chris Fischer and OCEARCH support the work of more than 50 scientists from more than 35 international and regional institutions. Fischer’s ultimate goal is to explode the body of knowledge forward by enabling scientists and governments around the globe to generate groundbreaking data on the ocean’s apex predators in an open source environment, while advancing STEM education through a dynamic shark-based curriculum.
Keith Lozeau, general manager of Patten CAT Power Systems, believes that OCEARCH and Chris Fischer exemplify Patten CAT’s commitment to corporate citizenship, education and sustainability. “We are honored to be able to work together with organizations such as the Chicago Zoological Society, OCEARCH, and Caterpillar to support the future development of STEM education.”
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