Sharks Invade Caterpillar Visitors Center During OCEARCH Week

The Caterpillar Visitors Center welcomed OCEARCH Founder and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer and M/V OCEARCH Captain Brett McBride for a week of programming to talk to Caterpillar employees, dealers, customers and local school children about the OCEARCH project and their upcoming expeditions scheduled for Cape Cod, Brazil and the Galapagos Islands.

About 450 Caterpillar employees and their family members attended a Meet-and-Greet with Fischer and McBride, where they received autographed sharks, key chains and photos, learned about the mission of OCEARCH and enjoyed special videos and exhibits, including the Global Shark Tracker technology. Dealer and customer groups had the same opportunity.

Throughout the week, the Visitors Center welcomed 160 children from Peoria, Ill., and surrounding areas for a special presentation with Fischer and McBride. Students learned how great white sharks are tagged and the importance of studying migration and breeding patterns, as well as the impact sharks have on the ocean's ecosystem.

Fischer also discussed the launch of a school curriculum available later this summer. The curriculum will be available for free from a centralized digital hub that integrates social media, videos, photographs and the Global Shark Tracker.

"We want to share information with the world's children. We're thrilled to announce 20 lesson plans to be launched in August," said Fischer, suggesting that lessons involving the great white shark, "the world's most charismatic creature, will make subjects like math and science fun again."

In February, Caterpillar announced its multi-year partnership with OCEARCH, which performs global research of shark breeding, feeding, migration and birthing patterns. The vessel used, the M/V OCEARCH, relies heavily on Cat® power in the water. The boat, with its team of scientists and crew, runs on two Cat engines and has three Cat generators on board that power an at-sea laboratory, custom-built hydraulic lift and 55,000-pound capacity research platform with the capability of handling 5,000-pound sharks. 

OCEARCH Founder and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer, far left, and M/V OCEARCH Captain Brett McBride, far right, pose with Peoria-area students and a shark model.