Doors to Diplomacy Project ID: 5155

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Pier2Pier - helping wild dolphins and manatees worldwide
Category: 7. Health and the Environment

School: Plantation High School
    Plantation, Florida, United Nations

4 students, ages 18, 18, 14, 17 worked together to complete this Doors to Diplomacy project on March 6, 2008. They have participated in Doors to Diplomacy in the following year(s): 2008

Classes and Teachers: Jamie Aquino, Rahsul, Fred, Frank, Ronald

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site: http://

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

Our team consists of Rahsul (18 years old), Fred (18 years old), Frank (14 years old) and Ronald (17 years old). As we all live in South Florida, we are aware of the ocean and its importance in life. Florida is a water state, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. We also understand the significance and contributions of marine mammals, specifically dolphins and manatees which inhabit the waters of Florida. People in Florida and worldwide have a special connection with both these marine mammals. They are friendly, docile and comfortable around humans. For that reason, dolphins and manatees are at risk from getting hit by boats, ingesting marine debris and harassment.

As creating a website is a lengthy process, we needed to divide responsibilities amongst the team members. It was important that we utilized the strengths and talents of each team member. Rahsul assumed the leadership role and delegated roles to the other team members as well become one of the official spokespersons for the organization. Fred was selected to conduct the research. Frank was named the “official artist”, creating the logo and offering artistic suggestions for the website. Ronald was selected to organize and coordinate the project.

Our coach is Jamie Aquino, who is also our journalism teacher. Over a year ago, she suggested that we work together on a campaign to help wild dolphins and manatees. A former journalist and publicist, Ms. Aquino assisted us with establishing contacts and guiding us in the right direction to make this campaign and website successful.

2. Summary of Our Project

We are joining the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), as well as state, federal and international partners, in a campaign to raise awareness among youth of threats to dolphins, manatees and the marine environment throughout Florida. Our initiative is being launched in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in support of the Year of the Dolphin 2008, and is aimed at outreach and fundraising to support marine mammal conservation initiatives in Florida and elsewhere. We hope to spur local action to educate students and promote protection by addressing major threats to wild dolphins, manatees and their environment.

Across the globe, dolphins, whales and manatees face a myriad of threats; including death in fishing nets, prey depletion due to over fishing, pollution, harmful noise disturbance, collision with vessels, habitat loss and deliberate hunting. One of the major issues facing dolphins in the wild, and especially in Florida, is harassment by commercial and recreational vessels and interactions with fisheries.

Pier2Pier will initially raise funds to assist stranding networks in Florida, purchase recycling bins where old fishing lines can be collected to reduce marine debris and entanglement of dolphins in discarded gear, and work with the Bryan Adams Foundation to fund a high school and conservation project in Haiti.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:21-50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:4-6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Although we have a DSL connection on all the computers in our school, the computers are old, outdated and slow. While we never lost any work, it did take longer than usual to access the internet and conduct our research.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

As one of us were in a different journalism class, it was difficult for us to meet to work on the project. However, as each of us had a different responsibility, we were able to work much of the time independently. Also, all of us on the team are involved in other school and extra-curricular activities, so it was challenging for us to find the time to devote to this project. Three of us are graduating so we are also busy applying to college and completing graduating requirements.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

This project has united students from many different backgrounds in giving selflessly of their time to help educate and create awareness of the problems facing our Florida state marine mammal (the manatee) and our Florida state saltwater marine mammal (the dolphin). This project has also created opportunities for students to get involved in a campaign that can really make a difference in the world!

6. How did your activities and research for this Doors to Diplomacy Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

As we are journalism students, this project is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn all aspects of journalism from marketing and public relations to news writing and broadcasting. In the process of creating this website, we learned how important technology is to get the message out to the global community. Using the internet is one of the most effective ways to teach as it provides the opportunity to conduct research, become a better typer, learn the art of design and discover the outlets available to find and disseminate information.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your Doors to Diplomacy project?

We used a variety of information tools and technologies including telephones, video cameras, scanners, computer software, the library, books, newspapers, oral interviews and the internet. We used the telephone to make calls to business and organizations to help sponsor and support our program. We also used the telephone to call the media for publicity purposes. We used scanners to scan the artwork for the internet. We used the library and books to conduct research. We used the newspaper to find current information about dolphins and manatees. We used the internet for a variety of purposes including conducting research, searching for potential sponsors and to review the website before and during the launch.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your Doors to Diplomacy project both on-line and in person.

Frank, Fred, Rahsul and Ronald have acted as “ambassadors” both on-line and in person in different ways. All are members of the advisory council for Pier2Pier. In addition, Frank created the Pier2Pier logo which appears on the website. He also is featured on the “About Pier2Pier page” as the official artist for the program. Fred and Rahsul are featured on the home page in a video clip introducing our program. Fred, Rahsul and Ronald also wrote articles for the website.

Both of our sponsors, the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society sent out formal press releases on Friday, March 7th, 2008. The press release was picked by a number of media outlets. That resulted in the number of hits on our website reaching over 6,000 in the first five days it was launched. We sent the link to our website to all of our advisory board members as well as other professionals who are helping us with the program. We received positive feedback in the form of e-mails and phone calls. Our website caught the attention of a local South Florida insurance company who donated $1,000 towards funding a school in Haiti.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

While the website was launched very recently on March 7th, 2008, we have already begun bringing the local South Florida community together. One of our big projects is working with the Bryan Adams Foundation to fund a high school and conservation project in Haiti. This school will provide free education for high school students in Labadie Village on the northern coast of Haiti. This community has been without a high school so this project will be very beneficial. As our school and the local South Florida community has a large Haitian population, this project will unite people for a common goal. As our website is an education and outreach campaign, we have the ability to inform the public about the perils and issues facing wild dolphins and manatees.

We have already received feedback from students and teachers at the school who are impressed with our website. And the students said they will benefit by having the opportunity to work on projects that will give them the necessary community service hours they need to graduate.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

In order to create a website that was educational and informative, we needed the support of professionals who could become mentors and advisors. It began in December of 2006 when we approached Backstreet Boy Nick Carter. We next approached the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species as they were involved with a campaign to help wild dolphins. We were instrumental in introducing Nick Carter to members of the United Nations who named him a special ambassador to the 2007-08 Year of the Dolphin campaign. Through this partnership, we joined forces with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. Our advisory board consists of individuals who have given of their time to help us organize, edit and provide necessary information for the website. They are Courtney Vail, a U.S. policy officer with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society; Veronika Lenarz, information assistant with the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species; Liam Addis, external relations assistant with the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species; Dwight Stephenson, commissioner with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Judith Vallee, development director with the Save the Manatee Club and Stacey Carlson, bottlenose dolphin conservation coordinator with the National Marine Fisheries Service. We also are grateful to musician Bryan Adams, who took an interest in our campaign and is collaborating with us to fund a high school and conservation project in Haiti.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Through this project, we learned that young people can make a difference in the world. Prior to starting this project, we didn’t know much about wild dolphins and manatees. Now we are informed and have the ability to educate other people around the world. This project gave us all a sense of pride and self-worth. We also realized that a website can be a powerful tool for disseminating information and has the ability to reach the masses. This project has opened many doors for us, including the ability to enter competitions such as Doors to Diplomacy. We also are entered in the UNEP/Volvo Competition and our artist Frank Brown is working on a marine painting for the Wyland Clean Water Challenge.


View our Doors to Diplomacy Project (Project ID: 5155)

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