JAWSFEST "Summer for the Sharks"

Posted on March 2, 2012
Written by: Shark Savers


For immediate release

JawsFest_logo.pngMartha’s Vineyard elementary and high school students and community groups will soon have a chance to increase their knowledge about sharks, thanks to a visit from marine conservation biologist Samantha Whitcraft of Shark Savers who is being hosted by MV Promotions Network. Ms. Whitcraft’s visit marks the launch of JAWSFEST’s “Summer for the Sharks” initiative to help raise awareness and funds for shark conservation.

Ms. Whitcraft will speak at schools in Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, West Tisbury, and Chilmark on March 13 and 14, as well as presenting free sessions at a number of public venues, explaining the importance of sharks to marine life, dispelling shark myths, and suggesting ways that children and adults can act to help protect sharks. She is a PADI scuba diving instructor, freelance nature writer, and passionate community activist who has worked with sharks and other marine animals at the New England Aquarium and Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. In her marine conservation role, Ms. Whitcraft has worked to protect the oceans and its animals in the field, lab, and office. Researching biodiversity, threatened and endangered species, and sustainable fisheries has taken her to the Amazon with National Geographic, to the Mesoamerican reef with NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, and to the Bahamas and the Caribbean to promote eco-tourism that emphasizes ocean advocacy and adventure.

“We are excited to be participating with JAWSFEST because it connects JAWS, one of the most popular films of its genre, with the shark conservation legacy of its author, Peter Benchley, and the activities of Shark Savers to fight against shark fin soup consumption, create shark sanctuaries, and educate the public about the importance of sharks to ocean health," said Wendy Benchley. "If JAWS was remade today, it would be the sharks that needed to be saved.”

“We are honored to have Shark Savers join with Wendy Benchley, Dr. Greg Skomal, the Discovery Channel, and many others as we celebrate the beauty and power of the shark through our Sharks, Arts & Conservation portion of JAWSFEST,” said Susan Sigel Goldsmith, Event Promoter. Sigel Goldsmith said this “event within an event” is evolving into be a major component of JAWSFEST that will include interactive displays, shark art exhibits, educational videos, science demonstrations, kids activities, and much more. “As part of our tribute to ‘Bruce’ (the great white shark from JAWS), we hope to help stem the decline of shark populations around the world by raising funds and awareness throughout the 2012 season,” she said.

“One of the first films I remember seeing and loving was JAWS, which not only influenced my career choice, but also made a special place in my heart for Martha's Vineyard,” said Samantha Whitcraft. “Now, I am so excited to have the opportunity to combine all three to share the message of how important and amazing sharks are, especially in New England.”

JAWSFEST: The Tribute will be held August 9-12 and includes “LIVING JAWS” presentations by cast, family members and crew at the Old Whaling Church; “BEHIND THE SCREAMS” exhibit of original JAWS memorabilia, including Robert Shaw’s personal collection; “SHARK IN THE PARK” baseball, games, and family activities with the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks; a JAWSTORE with original art and one-of a kind collectibles; and a multi-media tribute to Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, and Peter Benchley followed by an outdoor screening of JAWS on Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs.

“In many ways, JAWSFEST will be the grand finale to the “Summer for the Sharks,” our season-long initiative to raise funds and inform and educate people about the importance of shark conservation,” said Sigel Goldsmith, adding that Shark Savers will be the primary recipient of the funds. “When I met JAWS author Peter Benchley at JawsFest ’05, his passion for shark conservation had an enormous impact on me. JAWSFEST will be much more than a commercial celebration of the movie, it will be an opportunity to celebrate the beauty and power of the shark who is at the heart of the story. We have a number of ways in which local businesses can participate with shoulder-season programs to help to raise as much money as possible for this cause.”

More information on JAWSFEST: The Tribute and shark conservation is available at www.jawstribute.com. More information on Shark Savers is at www.sharksavers.org.



Jill Rose, VIP and Press Liaison
(781) 639-0095

Susan Sigel Goldsmith, Event Promoter
(508) 696-4900

About Shark Savers: Shark Savers was founded in 2007 by six long-time divers driven by a shared passion—to save the world’s dwindling shark and ray populations. Today, more than 20,000 members from 99 nations share that passion. Focusing on action and results, Shark Savers programs result in saving the lives of sharks and rays. By leveraging professional experience and expertise, Shark Savers brings this important issue to the masses in many compelling forms, motivating people to stop consuming sharks and shark fin soup, and working for the creation of shark sanctuaries and other protections. For more information, please visit www.sharksavers.org.