SOAR has a serious side in its missions to help kids find ways of helping the ocean and watersheds throughout the world. I started on having seen hundreds of albatrosses killed by plastic debris at Pihemanu (Midway Atoll). I was inspired by the questions of young people in Ohio and by USFWS biologists working hard to protect endangered species and damaged habitats.

SOAR has a very fun and tough to define side.....thanks to FRED AND FRIENDS, Project SOAR helps with watershed and ocean workshops throughout the world, and generally makes people smile while they learn some tough stuff about how we treat our rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and the one ocean on planet earth..........


SOAR introduces young people to ways they can make a difference in their local community and the wider world.

Take advantage by:

1) Invite a SOAR learning kit or bring Ron Hirschi to your school as a guest author or speaker for your organization. Ron has many years experience as an author and as a biologist. SOAR adds another dimension to his list of hands on projects he shares in writing, art, and ecology workshops.

Many schools invite Ron for his work as author of more than 50 nonfiction books, including many with ocean themes. Others bring him to school as a scientist or artist, but the best fit is always when schools use Ron to help them integrate curriculum.

Tom Bates, Principal at Tremont Elementary in Ohio recently said in an interview following Ron's visit, "What stood out to me was how Ron was able to gear his activities and discussion and information so it was meaningful to the students, whether they were in kindergarten or fifth grade."

Be in touch at whalemail@waypoint.com for visit information.

2) SOAR now has a new kit circling the globe along with a Laysan Albatross "Friend of Fred". This duo is packaged with a box full of ideas, activities, information about Papahanaumokuakea, ocean debris, and other materials aimed at sparking new projects related to the sea. Also included is a journal chronicling Fred's adventures, all of which began when kids at Columbus School for Girls (CSG) learned how they could take action to help the ocean.

Currently, this treasured package is in the hands of The Bush School in Seattle.

NOTE: You might also be lucky to receive one of the earlier packages with a FRED and Friend, already traveling. To date, Fred has visited Australia, Switzerland, Israel, England, The Dominican Republic, and many corners of the United States.

30 December 2009


Me Fred
Pretty sure people Down Under


Down Under, they have Water Dragon Patrol!!!
No Fool You! See yourself.
I sat in wait at recycle bin.
Kids. Old People. Young People.
They all pay respect to Water Dragon.
Put can. Bottle. All recycle stuff in big barrel.
Not sure what Water Dragon Do if not recycle????

Me, waiting for kids go back to school.
Travel around with friend, Jody.

She so nice to show me Australia!!!
Think I might stay a while, but
fly off to England to be sure and
to Ohio to talk story with kids.

Gotta talk story with adult people too.

They old, but learn. Maybe?

Hey kids. You gotta help me, Fred.
Find way to have all old people help ocean!!!
Maybe we teach all old people surf!

Happy Surf Friday!!!
Wooden Board or No Surf Friday!!!

29 December 2009


Check out:


and remember to go PLASTIC FREE this and every Friday..........in Memory of X310


Sand samples have arrived from ocean beaches about as far apart as any on the planet and I am happy to say, no plastic was seen in any of these ---- from Long Island, New York (well, actually Fire Island); Seward, Alaska; and Australia's Dickey Beach in Calundra, Queensland.

For those of you who follow the mystery of black specks in beach sands, NO black floating objects were observed in the Seward sample. This, despite the presence of a coal loading dock very near the collection site.

There were black specks in the samples from Australia and New York. Like others from east coast and Lake Erie samples, the black particles remain unidentified.

Thanks to all who continue to send samples of beach sand from around the world. The sand will be shared with students during the new year ahead. I am hoping a young chemist will help identify the mysterious black specks.......... 

19 December 2009


According to a UPI.com report on December 18th, seven sperm whales that beached at Foggia, Italy, died from ingesting plastic.

"They must have mistaken the objects for squid, one of their favorite foods, said Guiseppe Nascetti, who teaches marine ecology at Tuscia University."

The plastics consumed by the whales strangled their stomachs which also contained ropes, cans, and other containers.

PROJECT SOAR is dedicated to ridding the ocean of plastics and to helping kids live plastic free. We are still asking for sand samples from around the world, especially from the southern hemisphere. The plastics that go micro and enter beach sands and the ocean as very small particles carry with them toxins that kill, but in ways not as obvious as those that strangle sperm whales and kill countless seabirds each year.

Thanks to Susan Berta of the Orca Network for the sperm whale news report.

13 December 2009


It's me, Fred the Monkey happy at Christmastime.
Me and my Happy Eye Monkey Family
have this tradition.
Every year, help from squirrels,
We put all our pennies in a giant clamshell
Okay, actually, we never spend penny.
All year, everyday, we put penny in clamshell.
Clamshell hand down from Pacific Islander friend. Way Cool deal.

So. this year, me Fred counting up the penny in clam. Big Clam to be sure.
Who to give money to?
Easy for Fred this year. Gotta help friends, Albatross out on Pihemanu.

All Fred Penny go to:

to help them make better habitat for albatross babies
by pulling up all not native plant, Verbesina!

Hey! Check this out too!
Me, Fred, big fan of Etown on The Mountain 103.7
when I'm home with buddy Ron. He like listen to Vinyl Cafe, me, Etown...
They have this show about guy who start penny project

You go school?
Start penny collection in big clam shell or just a jar or maybe baseball hat.

Check out:

Penny Harvest at:

You might just help someone need help!
Make people and albatross smile!

12 December 2009


Yippee! It's me, Fred the Monkey Wildlife Warrior
Here at Steve Irwin's Place.
You know, Steve, he helped so many animals,
not just find homes, but be in our mind
and in best place,

Fred love Steve and Family!
Will always keep Steve in heart of Fred.

Make Warrior Pledge:

Me, Fred the Monkey
Promise to help all animal of earth,
even down here under rest of world.

Gotta go find out more about Penguin in big trouble.
You know any artist draw good Crested penguin for Museum?

11 December 2009


Turns out Fred was originally cast to be the star
Crococile Dundee.
Go figure.

So it was with a lot of good memory he paid a visit
to Steve Irwin's place to visit the Salties.

Fred says some of the big Salties are 20 feet long.
Might live to be 100.
They might even be able to get by for an entire year on one meal.....
A big meal.
This is somethig Fred knows, so he can hop on a croc
while showing

Fred has a lot of respect for Steve and family and all Aussie friends.
Says he might just stay down under for a spell.
Rains have come to quench some of the thirst of dry lands.
And, surf is up along the Sunshine Coast!

but how does he get down off that snout?

Stay tuned.

08 December 2009


Fred is getting around down under and has even been revealing a great deal about his life.

Check out a recent interview in Queensland at: http://ausmepa.blogspot.com/

03 December 2009


I received a box in the mail today.
From the USFWS.
Many of you don't know them.
They are mainly biologists working so hard to protect endangered species.
Wolf. Grizzly. Eagle. Polar Bear.
They also work to protect habitat of species not yet officially listed
as endangered.
Out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,
a few of them work to protect and understand a complex set of problems
generated here on the mainland.
One of the most serious concerns how our plastics enter the ocean
enter and kill some of the most magnificent creatures ever to soar.

I took this photo at a place of importance.
A burial site for albatross on Pihemanu, aka Midway Atoll.
Here, I saw hundreds of dead albatross.
My friends along that day were equally moved and saddened.
Every dead albatross was filled, as this bird was, with plastics
that included toys, markers, lighters, toothbrushes, and more
bottle caps
than we could possibly count in a week.

You are seeing one bird.
Millions of seabirds that we know of die each year by plastic ingestion.
In the case of albatross, the parent birds pluck the plastic from the sea.
They are adapted in a way curious perhaps.
Adaptation is like that.
They soar.
Then they alight on the water.
They pluck flying fish eggs and squid from the water.
Then, they fly maybe 500 miles back to their nesting island to feed baby.
Trouble is, they mistake plastic for the natural food and feed the deadly brew to
baby albatross.
Baby albatross like the dead one above must regurgitate
what biologists call a bolus (like an owl pellet)
at least once before fledging (flying off island to join other subadults on the sea).
Sadly, plastics often pierce their stomach.
Or, the plastics are so much a part of the contents of the stomach,
they can not toss it up.
I watched them die from this.

I wanted to add this photo well before Christmas
and will add far more after the New Year
mainly to help us to remember why we ought to be concerned
about the ocean.
We owe it to the little albatross to save our oceans.
Climate change is one thing, plastics seems another, but connected.
Reduce use of plastics and you will certainly save seabirds.
Reduce co2 emissions and you will save their habitat too.

So much to do!

You can help by supporting the USFWS and organizations
linked to this site. Unlike others, we at SOAR do not ask for your money,
we ask for your thoughtful consideration of the way we all live.
Send money to groups doing good work, but begin at home
Go plastic free this Friday for a start?

Mahalo nui loa

02 December 2009


What could be more beautiful than a baby Red-footed Booby.
I photographed this one on Eastern Island, Pihemanu (Midway Atoll).

It is testing its wings as winds blew across the tiny island from the lagoon.
Soon, it would fly off on its own to feed in its characteristic and spectacular fashion.

Unlike the Albatross, Boobies dive from the air, piercing the water, then grabbing
a fish before emerging and flying off, quite a ways from initial plunge.
You can see them dive if you watch the water from the shores of Kauai
and Oahu.
You can see them nesting along with many other seabirds at
Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai.
Boobies, Frigates, Albatross, Nene, Shearwaters, Monk Seals, and Honu
can be seen up close here.
All winter, Humpbacks swim offshore of the lighthouse
and Spinner Dolphins swim past pretty much all year.

Opportunity to photograph courtesy, NOAA, USFWS, and
the State of Hawaii.
Thank You Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument!

01 December 2009


Okay. I've been close to orcas, otters, and eagles all my life.
But nothing compares to the close connection with Laysan Albatrosses.
This photo was taken by friend, Trevor out on Pihemanu.
Every time we gathered as a group, the birds preened my legs and prodded,
pecking at my shirt. Old guy must be friend? Don't know why, but they always came close.

Maybe that is what prompted me to work on their behalf.
That happened to a lot of my friends who work for grizzlies and other life in need.
All I know is whatever they might have had in mind, it worked.

I love the majesty and grace of Albatrosses.
They are one of the most beautiful and graceful birds on the planet
and need our help in so many ways.
In fact, I am convinced, if we save them, we save ourselves from certain destruction.

I will share in months ahead some more photos that are too difficult for me to post now.
I befriended a young albatross on Pihemanu
that came out to the edge of the water each day I did a study of plastics.
The young bird let me stay near as it tried to fledge.
I watched the water for Galapagos sharks, its natural predator in the lagoon.
I even swam out in search of the sharks.
You will see this bird attempt to gain independence of aina (land)
and soar off to kai (ocean).
You will watch and learn as I did.
And be treated to the lessons of young human friends
who asked the most difficult questions of me
when I was honored to visit
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

Ron Hirschi
Project SOAR 

X310 Plastic Ocean Activity

It's me, Fred, the Monkey.

If you look closely, you can see I wear X310's leg band around my neck. It's to remind me of her. She was a Laysan Albatross. She was born in March 2008 and lived on Pihemanu, one of the most remote atolls on earth, now part of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

You can wonder about Pihemanu and about X310. She didn't live very long, dying in June 2008. Her parents flew thousands and thousands of miles finding food for her. But x310, like lots of baby albatrosses died before she got to soar the seas. Some albatrosses fly three million miles during their life. Like X310's parents, their sea is a new challenge in food finding because of our actions on land.

Adult albatrosses fly more than a thousand miles just to get a single meal for their babies. But the ocean is full of plastic. And if you read my buddy, Ron's blog and website, you learn about plastic in the sea. It is everywhere and babies like X310 die because they eat so much plastic, they can not get it out of their stomachs.

Where's all this plastic come from?
Where does it go?

Here is a simple activity:

Get up from your chair and walk around the classroom or wherever you are sitting.

Write down each thing around you that is made of plastic.

Everybody compare lists and make a total of the plastic products.

Now, the hard part of this activity:

Can you find alternatives for the things you use, alternatives not made of plastic?
Maybe start with drinking water from a fountain or glass or reuseable container?
Maybe start a really good recycling project?
Maybe make some art from recycled plastic?
Learn more on links here on this site and others.
Talk about times with no plastic.
X310 would have appreciated if people, just a few years ago had decided to make a plastic-free world for you....
You and X310.

Learn how you can SOAR with FRED by arranging a visit with Fred and his ocean teaching kit by emailing his banana provider at whalemail@waypoint.com


What you need:

Pint size plastic beverage container with wide mouth (about 1.5 inches) ---This approximates the size of a baby albatross stomach and esophagus.

Important to have the lid too.

Enough plastic items (bottle caps, toothbrush, legos, fishing line, small chunks of nylon rope, markers, pens, more bottle caps and even a few more bottle caps since they are pretty much the most common marine debris.

Talk with your audience of kids of any age about ocean debris and the way adult albatrosses fly out a few hundred or even a thousand miles to find flying fish eggs and squid for the little ones. They return to Pihe Manu or up on the Northeast shore of Kauai, find their young one among thousands of others and begin to feed by regurgitating "food".......

As you talk about this, have the kids place one or two pieces of the plastic into the bottle.

Replace cap with each addition of plastic. Shake gently to mimic bird moving around the nesting area a bit.

Remove cap. Shake gently to mimic the bird trying to dislodge "food" that can not be digested. In a perfect ocean, this would be squid beaks, fish bones, or other natural pieces of food.

Add more plastic, repeating above until no plastic falls out of the bottle when cap is removed (bill is opened) and the bird tries and tries, but can not toss up the mass of debris. See how much and how many different kinds of plastic can be added. Does the rope tangle with the legos and bottle caps. Do five bottle caps cause a blockage in the esophagus???

In nature, the upchucked mass is like an owl pellet and is known as a bolus. Natural foods slip freely through the esophagus and more feeding can continue. Most times, a baby albatross will toss up one bolus before leaving the nesting island. Unfortunately, thousands die because plastic blocks the stomach completely.

Your feeding the baby albatross activity can lead to a lot of discussion of plastics we use, discard, then find their way into the ocean and into the mouth of a baby albatross.

If you want to have a Baby Albatross Feeding Kit, complete with some plastic items that actually came from once living albatross at Pihe Manu, Papahanaumokuakea, be in touch.