PORT CHARLOTTE— Do you know the difference between a Lemon Shark tooth and a Bull shark tooth?
There’s a new set of playing cards that have pictures on them of sharks tagged for tracking by OCEARCH, an non-profit marine science organization.
The cards stand out from your traditional set of cards, because they contain QR codes, that players can scan with their phones and then track the sharks in real-time.
OCEARCH Shark Playing Cards by Ocean Family Games was created by Katherine and Peter Baumgartner of Port Charlotte.
The pair have always loved playing games, and as two educators with backgrounds in science, they share a love for teaching.
Her reason for creating the cards is to educate people about the importance of the ocean and how to protect the marine life that lives there.
“I knew I wanted to create a game that identifies fossilized shark teeth,” Katherine said.
Katherine said her and her husband used to carry around what they referred to as a ‘bag of fun’, which contained various games including darts, cards, Farkle, and Pass the Pig.
Initially she thought her business would be based around the same premise. She would create a ‘bag of fun’ using already manufactured games, and ship those out.
However, after talking to a friend who is a shark biologist, and a relative, she decided to create her own game entirely.
Baumgartner was always trying to find more science-related games.
Her children, ages 3 and 5 think it’s cool their mom created a game, because they have the opportunity to test the products out.
Katherine knew she wanted to give back to marine science or shark research, so she reached out to her shark biologist friend for further assistance. She asked if she could Tweet from his Twitter account that she was looking for reputable shark research organizations to partner with.
Within the hour, she heard from Chris Fischer, founder of OCEARCH, an organization which helps scientists gather data about the ocean.
She partnered with OCEARCH to co-design the deck of cards, and the organization shared pictures of sharks they had tagged to be featured in the deck.
When OCEARCH tags a shark, there is a satellite on their fin, which registers on the website anytime that shark surfaces for more than 30 seconds.
Players can visit OCEARCH’s website and scan the face cards in the deck with the unique QR codes. The QR code will bring up the path that particular shark has traveled through the ocean.
Baumgartner said her ultimate goal is to get her products into zoos, aquariums and schools, and during the holiday season, she wants to also sell on Amazon.
In the future, she hopes to create a board game and write children’s books, further teaching about the ocean and the marine life that lives there.
Ten percent of the proceeds from the playing cards go to support OCEARCH’s expeditions and education efforts.
The deck of playing cards is available online at oceanfamily games.com for $11.99.
“Play games, save oceans,” Baumgartner said.