Wells Fargo fosters environmental conservation through University of Miami's RJD program

May 25th, 2012
Wells Fargo & Company awarded the University of Miami’s R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program a grant for $40,000 in support of marine conservation science. The grant will address two major needs: the lack of engaging science education opportunities that inspire youth to learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills, and a lack of knowledge and awareness about marine ecology and conservation, particularly in relation to shark species. Credit: Christine Shepard
Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) has awarded the University of Miami's R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program a grant for $40,000 in support of marine conservation science. The grant will address two major needs: the lack of engaging science education opportunities that inspire youth to learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills and adopt conservation attitudes and behaviors, and a lack of knowledge and awareness about marine ecology and conservation, particularly in relation to shark species.

The program will impact a local audience through hands-on trips, as well as people across the globe via online education tools, including virtual expeditions, webinars, pod-casts, blogs, online curricula and social media. Students are lead through a series of field research activities and assignments that give them the feeling of actually being in the field. Interactive Twitter "teach-Ins" every month provide teachers nationwide with knowledge and feedback on scientific topics of interest.

"Wells Fargo is pleased to support the efforts of the University of Miami's R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program,'" said Frank Newman, South Florida Regional President at Wells Fargo. "We are committed to helping make our community aware of the importance of preserving the environment and fostering greater understanding of marine ecology and conservation within the South Florida community."

RJD was established in 2010 to provide marine science education opportunities that inspire youth to learn STEM skills and become informed supporters of ocean conservation. The program addresses a lack of knowledge and awareness about marine ecology and conservation, particularly in relation to shark species, by providing students with hands-on experiences that capture the imagination and engage the spirit.

Over the past four years, RJD has taken more than 3,000 high school students from 41 countries into the field to participate in shark research – students attending run the gamut from private schools, to economically disadvantaged, to juvenile offenders. High school students visit the University of Miami's research field station on located on Broad Key, Fla. and are taught about marine conservation issues from the station's in-house classrooms. The facility also serves as the base for students to join scientists in data collection and analysis, including shark abundance surveys, stable isotope analysis, underwater visual surveys, acoustic studies, and blood hormone analysis. In doing so, students will be trained in scientific methods, data synthesis and reporting.

"We are extremely honored and grateful to receive this prestigious grant from Wells Fargo," said Dr. Neil Hammerschlager, UM faculty member and director of RJD. "These much needed funds will go a long way toward expanding and enhancing our marine conservation research and educational work."

This donation is part of Wells Fargo's commitment to supporting the environment. As part of the company's commitment to "greener" communities, economy and operations, Wells Fargo has committed to $30 + billion in environmental investments by the year 2020.

Provided by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

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