Jaclyn Friedlander is a marine and environmental conservationist and creator of Friends with Fins.
I first met Jaclyn at the 2nd Annual Citizen Science Symposium in Long Beach California while we were both perusing the poster session. This was a short day-long conference but after a quick chat we exchanged emails to continue talking–that’s networking in action!
The next week Jaclyn shared with me her engaging YouTube channel and a couple of weeks later, we met over coffee in Los Angeles to continue the conversation in real time. Jaclyn showed me the fun children’s books she has published, two of which include illustrations done by a 14 year old and the third illustrated by an animator who has worked with DreamworksTV.
Jaclyn created Friends with Fins because she saw a need for ocean specific educational content.
“Our mission is to provide educational materials in the form of books, videos, and live presentations to school aged children with a strong focus on promoting ocean conservation, STEM and keeping all children, especially young women interested in science.” ~Jaclyn
Friends with Fins started as a short animated film that runs at some aquariums and the series grew into a whole marine science children’s brand. Now there are three picture books in the Friends with Fins series, over 80 ocean and conservation related YouTube Videos and Jaclyn speaks at schools, aquariums and conferences across the country!
I knew I had to ask her to do an interview for the readers of Woman Scientist.
Let’s hear more from Jaclyn about her career journey:
What is your earliest memory of being hooked by science?
I’ve loved marine science and ocean animals since first grade. The guppy in our classroom had babies and had to be separated from her babies so she didn’t eat them. For some reason 6-year-old me found that fascinating and the rest is history!
How did you get in to ocean conservation outreach?
I started volunteering at an aquarium running the touch tanks and then I became a beach clean up captain. Both of these positions taught me so much and made me realize I needed to do something ocean and conservation related.
What is your big dream?
The goals for the brand are to move the YouTube videos to educational Saturday morning television, and create a 90-minute stage play. Both are in development. We’ve already started shooting the first few episodes of the show thanks to some generous sponsors and we are currently looking for more corporate sponsors and individual donors.
Has your work allowed you to travel?
Friends with Fins has opened many travel doors and vice-a-versa. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to speak with school children all over the country. Whenever I’m in a city near water, I always find myself making a video at a rescue center or an aquarium or out with a scientist doing field research. I’m an avid scuba diver so underwater videos are a big part of my travel journey. One highlight from last year was a trip to Sylvester and Albany Georgia to speak to a school district and also to speak at an aquarium. I ended up doing a whole feature piece for a video on the Flint RiverQuarium. They had me do their fish feeding dive show while I was there and it was incredible.
Come along on the journey in this video:
What keeps you motivated when you’re feeling the drudgery?
Meeting and inspiring new children keeps me motivated. Every school visit is different and exciting. Knowing that teachers are using my videos in classrooms all over also keeps me going.
What are some inspirational materials you’ve used along the way?
As a scuba diver, I love Dive Training Magazine. My bookshelves are filled with ocean science books and I listen to a lot of entrepreneur podcasts. I also read a lot of business books.
How can others collaborate?
With all of the budget cutting at schools, many of the author visits that I do are sponsored by generous parents or local businesses. If you want to sponsor an author visit/marine science assembly for a school near you check out this video to see what we offer and get in touch:
I hope this interview inspired you to think about how you can reach the younger generations. Whether its going out yourself or partnering with others who have passion to share knowledge.
Thank you Jaclyn!
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