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Dowdell students experience a new world at the Florida Aquarium

October 28, 2015 - Student Success

Florida Aquarium Downtown Tampa has partnered with Hillsborough County Public Schools benefiting the sixth grade students at Dowdell Middle Magnet.  Through the Aquariums generosity, each rising sixth grader was gifted a copy of “The Shark Whisperer”, written by Dr. Ellen Prager, to read during the summer months for a project including activities for the new school year.

As summer ended, Dowdell students were invited to the Florida Aquarium Downtown Tampa to set-up an exhibit showcasing their very own projects. To the students delight, they were surprised to have Dr. Ellen Prager present and looking at their work and signing student’s copies of “The Shark Whisperer”.

Tristian Hunt and the Sea Guardians Series:

Book #1 The Shark Whisperer-released May 2014

Book #2 Shark Rider-released May 2015

Rising sixth grader Tana and her family had a chance to chat with Dr. Prager.  According to Tana’s aunt Jennifer, after Dr. Prager discovered the young student’s excitement over the jellyfish exhibit in the aquarium she gave the family some inside information about the 3rd book in the series, soon to be released.

To put the icing on the cake, students and their families were invited to enjoy the Florida Aquarium for a day, at no cost.  As a result of the access to available research and partnerships, like the Florida Aquarium and many others, Dowdell Middle Magnet is the first middle school to offer a high school credit course for eighth graders in Environmental Studies.

Learn more about Dowdell Middle Magnet:

Since 1996 Dowdell has offered the theme of Environmental Studies. All academic teachers take the opportunity to integrate environmental topics as part of their curriculum.  Clubs, community service and special events are centered on improving and protecting our environment.  Their motto, “Dowdell-where we do things peacefully & naturally” not only means that learning comes naturally, it also incorporates a philosophy that we consider the natural environment in all we do.  For more information about Dowdell’s programs and partnerships visit

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