This week is Discovery Channel’s Shark Week – one of television’s biggest events of the year! Whether you love the infamous programming or plan to boycott the drama, one thing is certain: scuba divers are some of sharks’ biggest fans. As TV viewers tune in to get a glimpse into the lives of these fascinating ocean predators, here at Project AWARE, we’d like to take the opportunity to highlight our global network of shark protectors.
It’s no secret that scuba divers are amongst the world’s most passionate and dedicated shark and ray advocates, and Greek diver Katerina Topouzoglou is no exception.
A scuba diver, free diver, and all around ocean-lover, Katerina Topouzoglou has always had a strong passion for marine protection. Growing up in a family who spent its spare time cleaning the beach, volunteering with local charities and donating schoolbooks, clothes and other valuable resources to those in need, she developed an innate sense of the importance of giving back. So, when the opportunity arose to use her dive skills to advocate for the protection of vulnerable shark species, Katerina dove in head first.
Katerina became a Project AWARE Shark Conservation Instructor, and started giving presentations to local student groups, universities, camps, dive exhibitions and the general public all across Europe. Dive exhibitions and student groups often bring in audiences ranging from 100-300 attendees, providing the perfect opportunity for her to spread knowledge of the challenges facing shark populations and offer advice to the public on how to take action to protect these vulnerable species.
Though it may sound romantic, Katerina explains that she aims to use these presentations to change the world’s understanding of sharks and the ocean.
She shares, “I believe that we can achieve miracles if we are united in our dream to protect sharks. My goal is to inform as many people as I can about their protection.”
Katerina’s impact as an AWARE Shark Conservation Instructor is especially visible amongst the student populations she teaches. After one recent presentation, children at local schools in Mykonos drew pictures with ecological messages and gave them to tourists in the nearby port – a prime example of the positive effect of ocean education in her community.
As the leading AWARE Shark Conservation Instructor in Greece, Katerina’s actions are leaving a lasting impact. With awareness of the need to protect sharks growing amongst the Mediterranean population, it is evident that Katerina’s efforts are helping change public perspective and encourage action for shark protection.
Thank you, Katerina, for your outstanding work as an AWARE Shark Conservation Instructor!
Help protect vulnerable shark and ray species by teaching the AWARE Shark Conservation Distinctive Specialty or join our #Divers4SharksNRays campaign to voice your support.