They also got students involved, with volunteers helping to control and tag a shark, just like the scientists who study them.
Through their combined experience as adventurers, entertainers, educators and producers, the brothers are uniquely qualified personalities in the world of educational entertainment.
“It was our childhood fascination with adventure and wildlife that never went away and the years we spent traveling the world with our show business family that led us to where we are today,” said the brothers.
Referring to their youth, the brothers explained that their interest and eventual fascination with sharks stemmed from one source: a late 20th-century movie known as Jaws.
“The movie starred the only great white shark in history to have mako teeth,” said Sean. “I guess they didn’t think that great white teeth were scary enough. I know they scared me. I wouldn’t go in a swimming pool for a while after I saw that movie.”
But it wasn’t long before the boys’ initial fear turned to fascination, one that they still have, and one that propelled them into their current work with shark conservation.
Sharks and tarpon intersect in a special way in Boca Grande Pass, and the brothers have been working with Hastings and many local guides and historians, studying the link between these two animals. Their trip to The Island School was filmed to be used in the upcoming Fox Sports Florida special, “Rich History … Priceless Future – the Tarpon of Boca Grande Pass.”
The brothers run a company, Think Out Loud Productions, and they do it all. They run the cameras, they lead expeditions and they find themselves acting as science team members – directly involved in the stories that they shoot and produce. The Paxtons and their work have been featured on National Geographic, PBS, Discovery Channel, Shark Week, The Weather Channel and the NBC Nightly News, to name a few.
The Paxtons are the creators and producers of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge, an annual event held in the Gulf of Mexico that emphasizes three goals: sports, science and conservation. The event is a catch, tag and release tournament, and the information provided from the released sharks will help researchers learn about the movements and habits of several species of sharks.
Another local program is happening in Wildflower Preserve, the former golf course now owned by the Lemon Bay Conservancy that is gradually being returned to a natural state. Juvenile tarpon can be found in the waters of the preserve, and like the sharks, these fish are being tagged for tracking. Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lew Hastings is deeply involved in the Wildflower project, and also spoke about the importance of conservation at the presentation.
The trip to the school was sponsored by the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce, to promote conservation and education about our delicate environment and how to protect it.View More images >>
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