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learn / 2019

Shark Weekends with L.A. Public Library + El Porto Shark

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by El Porto Shark

By partnering with the Los Angeles Public Library we aim to increase Los Angeles student's ability to be proficient in english, language arts, and math while immersing them in science, technology, engineering, and math content. Providing a summer learning program for grades 4-8, we will teach students the importance of ocean and shark conservation regardless of where they live and how it affects them and our global ecosystem and climate. They will leave with knowledge and actions they can take.

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • Los Angeles Public Library

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

El Porto Shark’s founder Apryl Boyle is a multi-ethnic Los Angeles native that was greatly influenced by her ability to have access to libraries in her youth. She read through several books every week and when she didn’t have something new to read would resort to re-reading the family encyclopedia set. Fortunately, growing up by the ocean gave her a keen appreciation for the ocean and the environment. As a surfer, she was exposed to sea life, including sharks and became the first to go to college and grad school in her family.

One day while surfing at El Porto in the South Bay in 2013, Boyle encountered a juvenile white shark in the water near her. Many others had also encountered these animals and it wasn’t long before the local news was showing up almost daily to ask surfers if they were afraid of sharks. It was creating quite an unnecessary panic and Boyle decided to start the El Porto Shark project. It started as a digital awareness campaign to advocate shark conservation.

There are 75% fewer great white sharks today than when the 1975 movie “Jaws” was released and nearly 100 million sharks are killed every year. Deaths occur from fisheries, culling, overfishing, and finning. We have “dolphin safe” tuna, but not “shark safe” and this needs to change for the overall health of the planet.

In 2015 Boyle was inspired to do more and started doing more active advocacy and consulted with NGOs such as Los Angeles Maritime Institute, Waterfront Education, and Heal the Bay. She is now completing the steps to have EPS become an official non-profit in order to focus more on research, education, and advocacy. Initial focus projects include turning surfers into citizen scientists and shark advocates as well as bringing shark and ocean conservation education to underserved students and families.

Boyle was once one of those underserved kids and just happened to live close enough to the beach to enjoy it and wants to reach more that don’t have that luxury while delivering quality educational content that benefits them for the rest of their lives.

Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math
  • Students’ immersion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math content
  • Student education pipeline

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Antelope Valley
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

How will your project make LA the best place to learn?

This project will be executed in-person through the Los Angeles Public Library’s (LAPL) Central branch, livestreamed to target locations, and availavle online through both LAPL’s and El Porto Shark’s (EPS) websites and digital media platforms.

The first 30-60 days will be spent in planning meetings, content creation, digital asset creation & programming. The “Shark Weekends” will launch in later in the summer/fall of 2018 for an initial 12 weeks on a date to be determined by both organizations. The program will include lectures, labs, book and movie clubs, arts & craft projects, and livestreaming events.

After the EPS team delivers the initial 12 weeks of content the Library staff will be trained on delivering the program for future use as LAPL determines. EPS training follows Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for each grade level and will administer the programming at the Central Branch and create kits and instruction for library staff administering livestreaming during events. The program will also be weaved into current LAPL initiatives.

We are targeting underserved communities throughout the library system. For example, there are kids in Inglewood that have never seen the ocean! We aim to bring the ocean to them and immerse them in not only STEM activities and learning but adding that A to make it STEAM (LEARN and CREATE). Additionally, we will have activities for the entire family that include book clubs, movie screenings, and craft projects.We will show them the power of having a library card and what benefits the public and students receive with their free library card and free programs such as Shark Weekends.

It’s important for these underserved communities to understand their role in shark and ocean conservation as they are typically the most affected by climate change. We aim to teach them not only quality STEAM topics, but how to be Citizen Scientists and what they can do to better their environment and the oceans. Regardless of where they live, they cam be empowered ocean and shark advocates. Not only will the students LEARN, but their families as well.

Our program will make measurable progress by taking surveys before and after programming, in-person and online attendance, program retention, community access, and how many new library cards are issued.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Pilot project (testing a new idea on a small scale to prove feasibility)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Success will be measured through surveys that are administered before and after specific programming, marketing campaign metrics, community access, program retention, and new library card sign ups above and beyond “normal” projections. We will assure that we are facilitating Los Angeles to LEARN and CREATE!