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.

25 February 2010


Here I am, Fred the Monkey, with my new friend, Moli.......She is a Wandering Albatross just visiting me and Buddy Ron here on Marrowstone Island. Okay. Did you notice I (Me, Fred) have been learning to write more clearly with better English. I am learning while visiting England so I can talk story better with kids. You know, Buddy Ron is taking me with him to his special friends at Bow Lake Elementary really soon. These kids are very good writers and we will be writing together. So, I better keep practicing sentences, paragraphs, and my words. Moli is Hawaiian for Albatross but you know, Wandering Albatross live mostly in very far southern oceans. Buddy Moli is here to go on special world tour.

If you want Moli to visit, be in touch. For now, Moli will be flying away tomorrow to her very first stop. Kids will write a postcard, take her picture, and send her to another stop. Moli plans to make a journey of one million miles to raise awareness of oceans. You know, real live albatross might fly THREE MILLION MILES in their lifetime. A lot of those miles are to find food for their babies. Albatross are good people. Bird People. We need to listen to them more clearly.

Fred, Back home for just a quick visit. Marrowstone Island, Washington. USA.
p.s. Big Thank you to Buddy Ranger Mike at Fort Flagler State Park on Marrowstone Island. You know what! Mike and the park has recycle bins just for us to put all the plastic inside so it stays away from the ocean. Mike is good guy and kind of a lucky fisherman too. He helps the ocean and has way nice family too! 

22 February 2010


Thanks to everyone who has been sending sand. I have quite a few samples to process and will post more complete results soon. Just wanted to pass this along for your information:

I've been making presentations in quite a few locations lately. Trying to make workshops more relevant, I've been able to share sand study with people while sharing images from Papahanaumokuakea and talking about ocean issues, especially those related to plastics.

While in Salem, Oregon at the Friends of Straub Environmental Learning Center presentation, I brought along a sand sample from Washburne State Park on the Oregon Coast. Thanks to Hannah C. for that sample! When we added water to a small sample of that Oregon coastal sand, small plastic pieces and one nurdle floated out for all to see.

Two weeks ago, I did a workshop on Whidbey Island, Washington, not far from home. On my way to the Sound Waters Conference at the Coupeville High School, I stopped just after getting off the ferry at Keystone. There is a long and very elegant sand spit along the shore just to the south of the ferry landing. This spit is part of a protected natural area that encloses a tidal lagoon and includes a nearshore preserve where divers can view octopus, ling cod, and wolf eels minutes from a parking lot and shoreline chowder house.

The spit is directly across Admiralty Inlet from Marrowstone Point where I do my daily beach cleanups. Like the Point, it is situated perfectly to receive a great deal of marine debris from points south, including the cities of Seattle and Tacoma. I picked up a heap of plastic trash after only a few minutes on the beach and scooped one film cannister of sand at the terminus of the long spit's drift cell. I took the sample to the workshop.

When water was added to this single film container of sand, tiny plastic pieces floated out for participants to see and for one teacher to take back to her classroom.

It is one thing to share sand samples from the more famous garbage patches of the world and quite another to simply share plastic gone micro from beaches close to home. Coastal Oregon, Whidbey Island, and Pihemanu (aka Midway Atoll) all share one thing in common. They are sad reminders that the entire ocean is filling with our debris and that our plastic leavings have become part of the marine environment in ways we need to study more thoroughly.

If I can hop off a ferry, walk to the beach, and scoop micro plastic in a marine preserve, there is something incredibly wrong with our world.

One solution is to go Plastic Free this Friday and to search for ways to create more effective recycling programs in our large cities, including Seattle --- contributor to the Whidbey Island plastic problem.


13 February 2010


It's the 13th of February. A windy day on Marrowstone Island with far too friendly eagles letting me walk past as they tear bits from a flounder left behind by otters. The otters sit on a rock and seem far too friendly too. They allow us to walk past within 40 feet. Monsoon (labrador leashed for the big birds and slippery mammals sake) is extremely curious.

Fred is in England, helping Maya and Niamh with Dolphin and Seal stranding workshop.

Here, the seals hang farther offshore, following us as we pick up an endless stream of plastic. There were no other people on the beach. Probably watching the Olympics? But then, when we approached the end of the beach walk, a woman with a warm smile helped us pick up styrofoam and plastic just before a rain squall hit from the south. Waves pounded the shore, tossing more debris from Seattle...........I asked her where she lived. Seattle. Okay, I can't be too harsh and won't go on too much about how they send plastic into the ocean, but here goes.

February is half complete. I will be joining Fred on an adventure in Ohio and so, will offer this February plastic report for Marrowstone before month's end since I won't be picking up Seattle leavings for another couple of weeks. I hope some of you listening might pick up where I left off, especially along the south shore from East Beach to Marrowstone Point.

In just two weeks of February Marrowstone beach cleanup, the results are:

171 Bottle caps under 3 inches
2 Bottle caps over 3 inches  (Okay Seattle, it looks like you do well when you can recycle)
121 Shotgun shells and wadding/cups
19 Firework rocket tops
24 Straws
21 Lighters, mostly Bic generic (anyone have a connection at Bic?)
15 Fishing Tackle (mostly bobbers and small corkies, not commercial gear
13 Small cosmetic and other containers, mostly half or more full for some reason
12 Toys (includes a Rubber Duck with partial marker tag)
7 Plastic utensils
6 Pens or Markers

This is a tally of small debris and does not include the approximately 80-90 bottles, many flip flops, styrofoam blocks, computer ink cartridges, Penn Cove Mussel Hangers, Shoes, coat hangers, broken pieces of plastic, buckets, coolers, reusable drinking bottles, dog poop bags, baggies and other small plastic bags, and other unidentified plastic and styrofoam hauled to the landfill due to inability to recycle.

Once again, Seattle and all points South: Please contact wholesale recyclers who will accept one of the most deadly forms of plastic in the sea ---- Bottle Caps less than 3 inches in diameter. They are responsible for several thousand deaths by plastic each year in the Pacific and, no doubt in other world oceans.    

11 February 2010


Okay, Me Fred so lucky once more.
Gotto hang out with Smithtown, New York High School Kids!!!

You know, kids in high school get not good rap alotta time. 
How Come. Maybe you rest of America not listen to Monkey talk!

Fred, Monkey pay attention to kid.

Hands up with Reuse Steel Bottle.
Kids sell bottle and send money all way to help Haiti!!!
They show Kuleana. Responsibility big time. 

See up behind Fred?
They make very special bulletin board from BOTTLE CAP!
Use Bottle cap art to help other kids understand,
Plastic in ocean harm much ocean life. 

You see little circles, make shape of fish.
Circles from bottle cap. 

Smart kids, Cool kids, Fred Friends.......
and hey, anybody still have job in America,
get in touch with Fred so we can
send money to Smithtown for cool logo drinking water container!

Next time you see Fred, Me with Smithtown Ocean Saving drinker!!!

Mahalo nui loa Smithtown Kids!
But what all that cold, wet, white freezing outside on Long Island!!!!
Fred toes frozen to ground......dream Hawaii dream.
Hop on magic board tonight.......warm water surfing sound so ono.   

10 February 2010


Lucky Me, Fred!!
I get spend time with Penguin Friends in Oz,
but here in England, Penguins GO SCHOOL!!!
Lunch time now and all kid penguin eat from same bucket!
No messy lunchroom and janitor happy too.

Okay, but you just see this!

Kids of Sherwell write creative!!!
Here some good stuff. One boy, Adam write Gordon Brown.
You know Gordon? He live Downy Street I think and kinda
same but different of Friend Prez O in America where Fred VOTE.

Here you go, Adam letter to Prime Minister Brown:

"Dear Gordon Brown

I am disappointed at how much plastic goes into the Pacific Ocean. The species of Albatross is very endangered and you do something about it! We should command England and other countries to re-use any plastic things such as: carrier bags, curry staionary, (foil) plastic cans and plastic bottles. Using Hessian bags could help a lot too. The plastic affects Albatross chicks because the adults eat the plastic, then they regurgitate the plastic into there baby chicks. After a while the baby chicks get packed-full of plastic and slowly die. Eventually, the Albatross will be extinct."

How's that for penguin writing!!! And you thought only us Happy Eye Monkey good writer. See, Penguin write better English than Fred......I gotta spend more time at good school, Sherwell Primary! But what Curry Stationary? Like curry fish? Curry banana?

Okay, this from Penguin Poet name Lucy!!! Lucy way cool like other kids!

Some penguins die from pollution, explained Fred
Too much rubbish is being dropped into the sea
Over every sea
Probably every penguin will be dead if we don't do something! cried Fred

People NEED to stop polluting
Oh no! I hear you shout
Litter everywhere
Lots of it
U can do something
Tidy up your rubbish
Instead of dropping it
No to dumping rubbish
Good, now you try! said Fred happily

Lucy make Fred happy to be sure......... Fred share more from Sherwell soon too!

09 February 2010



Gotta tell ya. See this before.
It's me, Fred in England with friend Maya, her daughter and
friends at adopted Cockleridge Beach......
See Swan Friends back there?
they ask about Trumpeter Friends back home.  

We spend just one hour to get so much just like
Buddy Ron be picking up on Marrowstone and try
tell people of Puget Sound, Please recycle bottle caps!

Lots of other stuff, but some to tell you:

2 bags 
45 bottles from water and soda
89 Bottle Caps
124 piece fishing net big and small
145 unidentified plastic
378 pieces styrofoam. Lotta stuff never break down too.
5 Lighters.
One Straw.

Lotta bottle caps and bottles and fishing stuff.

Maya talk story about all this and say she checking into bottle cap 
recycle over in England.

Maybe Swiss Friends need help us out here
and Jefferson County too.

Whole world ocean fill up with bottle cap pretty soon. 

Maya!!! Mahalo nui for help.


Me, Fred learn so much in little time.
You know, I only first learn plastic in ocean maybe hmmmm,
less than year. Buddies at CSG in Ohio teach me much!
Albatross Friends teach me and guess what,
They teach heart of Friend Christi too!

Christi learn about albatross and turn Recycle Crafter!
Christi talk story with Fred about

Check out her bags make from plastic bag
instead toss into ocean or recycle bin!

Christi not complain about bag,

Call this REPURPOSE!

Fred call this take Kuleana, Responsibility!

Mahalo nui Christi at fatbottombag.com 

07 February 2010


It's Me, Fred in Switzerland!!!
Long way from Sea. Long way from Home,
But this Buddy Ron's ancestral homeland,
high up in mountain where river wash to sea!

And guess what SEATTLE, Swiss people like
buddy Geri and family RECYCLE BOTTLE CAPS.
They even got trucks say, YES WE CAN.....
Wonder if Buddy Barack Swiss connection make this up?
No matter, Fred happy say YES WE CAN RECYCLE CAPS.
Gotta for Albatross Friends out on Pihemanu......  

Me, Fred gotta do this for Swiss room and board:
Find bottle. Take off cap. Smash bottle to Smoosharines. Put back cap.
Put in recyle place. Get made into something. 
Better than washing down river to sea, for sure.

Good people at JMK Recycle, Tacoma, Washington USA
tell me, Fred --- keep cap on! Add weight, good for recycler.

Okay. NOW, my study on Pihemanu take new shape.
You know this? Me, Fred get invited back to Papahanuamokuakea.
Too funny. Fred invite. Buddy Ron, no way......
I think I count bottle cap on Pihemanu this summer,
see if number less than one year ago.
Yes we can make number go down. Together, from
Switzerland to England to US to Australia....

Okay, gotta go talk story with Yes We Can Truck Driver.
maybe make up Truck Drive Song.....

Fred. Basel, Switzerland. Super Recycle Sunday. 2010. 

04 February 2010


Okay. Me, Fred lucky Monkey to be sure. Got Magic Alaia from buddy Tom in Australia........So, I hurry hurry back to Marrowstone Island to be watching whales with buddy Ron!

WE WATCH WHALES ALL MORNING LONG! 20 Maybe 25 Orca. Thanks to buddy Susan at Orca Network (click on their link to be sure) let us know today in morning. So, me, buddy Frank and Ron go down to Marrowstone Point and just watch. Eagle sit. Sea Lion stroll past. Harbor seal swim lazy. Orca, big male kinda lay on side. Splash and play, then dive when boat go right over top of whales!!! Naughty.

Puff. Puff. Puff. Puff. Orca breathing, swimming, play too. Me, being Monkey know this. Whale play lotta time. They smart. So, I pull out trading card, show buddy Ron Ruffles, old whale like old Ron. He think maybe not him out there.

Not sure name of whales swimming by today. Just so happy see Orca Friends.

We watch, then go to beach twice, three times, four times. Watch to see if more whales come and bring big bag to pick up plastic toy, garbage can full of styrofoam, lotta water bottle maybe twenty just today, lego toy, more toys, another funny cow on top of block toy, five lighter, a bag with zip not suppose be here according to some who say bag not wash out on beach?, lotta broken bucket, plant holder, lid of cooler, some more stuff, and what that...........plastic cover of Holy Bible.........hmmmmm. Look like old leather Bible. Plastic though. Another lighter. More bottle caps. Buddy Ron talk talk talk about bottle caps. Gotta go with him Saturday to Island Whidbey to talk story about me, Fred and Project SOAR. Help People for Salish Sea find wholesale recycler down south in place call Tacoma.......sun shine today and me, Fred get to watch orca spout in bright sun water with Mount Tahoma out there. No photo. Just picture in mind. Picture in heart.

I think Whale Watch make Fred stronger. Orca. Okay. But me and buddy Ron hang out with S'Klallam Friends. In S'Klallam word, these whale KLOOMACHIN. Kloomachin for Salish Sea. Kloomacin In Salish Sea today. Nice. It really beautiful world.

Gotta get back Australia.........lotta kiddos to meet. England too.   

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.