World Ocean Day at Mote Marine Lab gave us the opportunity to highlight the spotted eagle ray and educate the public on this ray’s biology and behavior. An educational outreach booth was manned by some of Mote’s high school interns as well as our visiting Mexican colleague, Laura Luz Alonso Rocha, who will be taking some of the activity ideas back to Mexico to implement.
Some of these activities included: (1)Spot a Ray (learn about the different spots eagle rays have and create your own ray), (2) Photo-ID the Ray (match rays by their unique spot patterns from different days), (3) What Am I (mouth plate and barb and what are their functions), (4) Remora Toss (a bean bag remora with velcro head is tossed onto a spotted eagle ray board – this helps to educate about the relationships remoras have to spotted eagle rays), and (5) Spotted Eagle Ray Coloring Sheet and Word Search (educational worksheets highlighting ray biology and behavior).
We had over 2000 visitors to this event and heard a lot of “I did not know that – rays are cool” when people stopped by our booth to participate. Education is key to promoting conservation awareness!