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New group started for girls who dig sharks

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy launches Gills Club
Cynthia Wigren with 8-year-old shark enthusiast Anneliese McGowan. Photo courtesy of AWSC.
Cynthia Wigren with 8-year-old shark enthusiast Anneliese McGowan. Photo courtesy of AWSC.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) this week announced the launch of the Gills Club. The club, according to AWSC founder Cynthia Wigren, is for girls who like sharks.

"It's clear that girls of all ages are enthusiastic about sharks," said Wigren, who said she found the inspiration for the Gills Club after meeting girls at event this past year.

The club's main purpose is to connect young girls with female marine biologists. The motto of the Gills Club is "smart about sharks".

Wigren is hoping to get girls interested in STEM subjects while fostering a positive attitude towards sharks.

Membership in the Gills Club is free and members will receive a monthly newsletter and have the opportunity to participate in online discussions with female researchers like Heather Marshall, a UMass Dartmouth PhD candidate. Marshall has worked with state shark expert Dr. Greg Skomal of the Division of Marine Fisheries and has participated in the last three OCEARCH expeditions.

"I'm eager to work with Atlantic White Shark Conservancy on this exciting new initiative," said Marshall. "We hope to provide a forum for young and older girls to share their enthusiasm about sharks and create an open discussion between these girls and established female shark scientists."

"This new group will provide girls with strong role models and empower them to become stewards of our oceans," said Wigren.

To join, girls should email their name, age and address to gillsclub@atlanticwhiteshark.org.

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is an all-volunteer non-profit dedicated to raising public awareness about white sharks.

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