Q. How do you virtually teach about native Arizona fishes? We asked teachers around the Phoenix valley how we should reconstruct our live, on-site 45 min Sharing Tails program to best fit their students needs. Now our program is split into two, 20-30 sessions that teachers schedule themselves so it best fits into their synchronously- and unsynchronously-timed school days. We send pre- and post-visit materials via the mail and then virtually meet with students! Using mute and unmute settings during our sessions, we interact with students as much as possible, giving them the best “live” experience we can as they learn about native Arizona fishes!
Q. Why was Sharing Tails created? After many discussions with Dr. Paul C. Marsh, owner of Marsh & Associates LLC, about how most people in Arizona did not know that there were fishes unique to the state and how most were endangered or threatened, Carol Pacey decided to take matters into her own hands and she created Sharing Tails.
Q. Why kindergartners? Kindergartners are perfectly suited to receive our program! They are excited about school and learning, and they are quite inquisitive when it comes to something new. We follow kids up as they enter first and second grades to allow our program to build upon the previous year’s information, and grow and change as kids grow and change. When we see kids in first grade, most remember something about our program, and by the time we see them again in second grade, they know Carol as the “Fish Lady” or the “Fish Scientist” and they are excited to see what’s new!
Q. Will Sharing Tails visit any schools that are interested in having the program? Probably yes! Our focus has been on public elementary schools because that was where we directed our original grant with the Bureau of Reclamation, but now that we are creating our own funding sources, we will visit private and charter schools, as well as any organization or secondary schools who are interested in our program. We will do our best to adapt our information and programming to what you are interested in for your organization.
Q. What more is there to know about Sharing Tails? From 2008-2011, Marsh & Associates LLC presented a free, state-wide, on-site, exciting native Arizona fishes public outreach program Sharing Tails at public elementary schools. We traveled the state teaching kindergarten through second grade students about our native fishes, reaching about 33,000 students which exceeded our goal of 30,000 students. For more about our program, please read our article published in Applied Environmental Education & Communication <here>.
After 2011, Marsh Education formed in 2013, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 branch of Marsh & Associates LLC, but did not begin visiting students again until 2015-2016 school year. Since then and to date, more than 11,000 students received the Sharing Tails program, bringing the total to more than 44,000 students reached since 2008 (updated May 2021)! THAT’S FIN-TASTIC!!!
Since its founding in 2008, the Native Fish Lab at Marsh & Associates LLC has been a leader in native Arizona fish work. It had been a unit within the Department of Life Sciences at Arizona State University since 1980.