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.

07 May 2010


Aloha! It's me, Fred...........As buddy Aminah says, me and Ron have been traveling! What fun this springtime.

So. Here is a bit of catchup for the hotdog of life...........life with Fred and Friends. Most important, little buddy Nichol is looking GOOD and WELL and HAPPY now that tides are low and the table is set as we say here in the Pacific Northwest. Clams, Crab, and Oysters are sooooo good this time of year and we made great seafood chowder the other day from a special mussel patch down on Oak Bay.

Better yet, Brother in Law, Phil and Nephew, Brian and us got to see the FIRST EVER SUCCESSFUL little baby kelp plant growing right at Marrowstone Point Kelp Restoration site. So, Big Thanks to all keiki from Wolfle, Gordon, and Home Schoolers who have helped. This is special for buddy Ray --- we named the kelp forest in his honor since he taught Ron how to figure out the way to bring this most important plant back to the Point where just the other day we say TWO ORCAS!!! Yip! Oh, and just last week we saw gray whales just around this corner of our island! BIG YIP from me, Fred.

Okay. So, a tiny update on our travels and fun from the Mountain Rainier Top, down the Puyallup River to Commencement Bay where huge recycling down on the waterfront is best in whole world! HUGE STACKS OF METAL, BINS FILLED WITH BOTTLE CAPS TO BE RE-PURPOSED, AND TONS AND TONS OF TRASHTIC BEING TURNED INTO NEW PRODUCTS and more important, JOBS for people of the world.

We got to make big books at Browns Point Elementary by the recycling place! Way Cool Kids and Parents and teachers! This is same school where two good buddies of Ron attended back in the 60s! Old Ron has Old Friends Jeff and Laura (Laura and Ron were just about very first to graduate from UWashington Wildlife School! Hmmmm.......Laura was first Woman to have that honor and she has worked for the wildlife and wildplaces of Washington for a long time.

Been also to the most sacred mountain top in Hawaiian Islands, Mokapu.....A special honor to be sure where me and friend, Eddie the Cougar and Mokapu the Cougar were sent by THE COUGAR FUND and the US MARINES to help keiki make world's very first life size sculpture of not just one, but TWO WHALES made from bottle caps......Oh, did I say that some of the bottle caps came from BREIDABLIK ELEMENTARY!!! Big Mahalo Mary Fox and teachers and parents and kids at Breidablik. Mokapu keiki got special letter from PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, thanking them for all the hard work they have done to help make kids aware of plastic in the ocean........

MOKAPU ELEMENTARY is where enlisted Marine and Navy parents now serving in the wars send their keiki to be learning with most wonderful teachers, Kapuna Lei Mokihana, staff, volunteer moms and dads, way cool custodians, girls in the office, and much more community. Mokapu Marine Base Hawaii is also under the command of awesome Commander Robert Rice who is turning the entire base GREEN!! also under the direction of General John Broadmeadow, a most kind and gracious man and leader of forces in the Pacific.

Me, Fred, got to hang out with the Marines and we woke with the sun each day to go to the beach where we picked up trashtic for Mokapu Elementary art. We made big book so big with help from soft strumming of young Kai Kane Newall who sang Brother Iz tunes while playing his Uk. Big keiki helping little keiki add art under direction of Drill Sargeant Michelle "Matisse" Kaskovich who is oh so special lady and mom and artist of greatness and humility. Her own family made so much possible for our special time with 850 students here on the windward side between Kailua Town and Kaneohe (where friend Tammy lives and works too!. Oh what a small small world after all!

Did I mention that me, Fred got to be held in arms of Stanley, special friend at BOW LAKE ELEMENTARY at SEATAC, Washington? Yep! Stanley and many other young friends added much to the Cougar Tale Project, funded by the http://www.cougarfund.org/ and over seen by me, Fred and Friends from Rhode Island who started Mokapu and Eddie on their long, long, long journey.........over land to the Snake River with buddy, Moli, a Wandering Albatross and over sea, around Cape Horn, all the way to Breidablik with a little Trashtic Whale and Riverbox from Wyandot.............good grief, my friends are busy.....Traveling, Traveling. But Stanley took time to talk story with me and buddy Ron. Turns out, Stanley's family is from American Samoa and a bunch of his friends are from, guess where, Pacific Island home of me, Fred, the Happy Eye Monkey!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I will send a little note of thanks to President Barack and say how nice it has been to have him lead our country and have so many wonderful schools and leaders like Commander Rice --- generous and kind leaders, strong ones too..........with special Kuleana to make Planet Earth Green and Clean. All with help from the Mean, Lean, Fighting Machines of GREEN POWER, the United States Marine Corps! So, if you have a hard time picking me, Fred, from the greening growth of spring, it is because I have gone camo! That way I can get good photos for all keiki of friend, Cougar, Albatross, Orca, Brown Bear, Moli the Laysan, Little buddy Redfooted Booby and ALL FRIENDS OF FRED NOW TRAVELING EARTH TO (as buddy old Young singer guy says, 'TO PLANT MOTHER NATURE'S SILVER SEED IN NEW PLACES NEEDING HELP UNDER THE SUN."    Marrowstone Island, May 7th 2010 almost Mom Day and almost time to go visit Evelyn and Dr Mary Sheridan, and friends Sue, Sharon, Susan (who hey......also sent Friend of Fred, Beaver, to young Joe here on island where Joe and Dad, Marty and family are restoring a very special salmon Stream for local fishermen! Big Thanks to Susan and to all Marrowstoners for their help with this project! 

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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.