Jillian is a passionate Conservationist & Marine Biologist and founder of Sharks4kids.
Jillian in her happy place.
Sharks 4 Kids
Jillian Morris Brake: I am a marine biologist, shark conservationists, photographer and author. I teamed up with Dr. Derek Burkholder and Duncan Brake, combining our science and media experience, to create a dynamic shark education program for students around the world. The goal of Sharks4Kids is to create the next generation of shark advocates through education outreach and adventure. We offer free curriculum and activities for teachers and students, outreach programs for schools and community groups and hands on tagging and snorkeling experiences. We’ve built an ambassador team, with people visiting schools and groups around the world. Through our in person visits and Skype lessons, we’ve connected with over 70,000 students in 44 countries and 47 US States and our reach is growing each year. Learning to dive changed my life and I recommend it for anyone! Getting to explore the ocean is remarkable and as divers we can share our stories with others and encourage them to find a connection to the sea. I am proud to be a PADI Ambassadiver and hopefully I can inspire people of all ages to dive in and experience the underwater world.
I have learned how creative and truly inspiring kids are. They never cease to amaze me with their genuine compassion for the ocean. They are open to learning and really want to make a difference. They give me hope every single day. Each year our goal is to reach more students and provide more opportunities for them to see sharks and gain a first hand experience.
Collage of photographs from the work done by Sharks 4 Kids impacting over 70,000 students.
Photograph and film
Photos and videos are extremely important for our organization. We are constantly using them to create new educational materials and highlight shark conservation and science. Images are extremely powerful and they can help people see these animals in a difference light. We use images to show students the weird and wonderful world of sharks, far beyond just the teeth and fins. There is a lot of negative and inaccurate media about sharks, so we use our media as a chance to tell the real story. It’s a chance to teach people about the beauty of these incredible creatures.
A beautiful bull shark swimming past (Jillian Morris Brake)
Sylvia Earle and Eugenie Clarke have been huge inspirations most of my life. I read about them in books and have been lucky enough to meet and work with Sylvia Earle. I had the chance to give her a copy of my book last year and it was an amazing experience.
Seeing a lemon shark give birth was one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed. Seeing each little shark begin its life and seeing how vulnerable they are was extremely powerful. Life is hard enough for these sharks, so we need to do better and we need to do more. This female gave birth to 10 babies and we watched as they spiraled out and fought to break free of their umbilical cord. Groggy at first, it’s like someone hits a light switch and they immediately go into survival mode. There is no paternal care, so these little animals must find food and a place to hide out.
Shark yin yang ( nurse and hammer) - Coexist (Jillian Morris Brake)
The great thing about ocean conservation is everyone can do something. Use less single use plastic, make sustainable seafood choices if you eat seafood, start a conversation about sharks or other ocean animals, read a shark book to students; easy and simple ways we can all make an impact.