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.

19 October 2010


I get to work with a lot of people and recent commentary on national marine education networks actually suggest that the military does great harm to the ocean world.........Hmmmmm. My experiences and knowledge of history tell me the Navy and Marines are responsible for protecting the ocean, our coasts, and the well being of our country as well as most of the rest of the planet. Of course, the Coast Guard is very devoted to protecting the shores too, but the Department of the Navy is where I spend time, volunteering as opportunities arise. I am proud of my time spent out on Midway learning about that battle area and of my time volunteering at Mokapu, Marine Corps Base Hawaii............That said, I also get to spend time closer to home, working with some great people in western Washington at local Navy bases.

NOVEMBER 13th, try to get over to the NAVAL UNDERSEA MUSEUM in Keyport Washington! That day, you can meet and greet military experts with incredible stories to tell about submariners rescuing downed bomber pilots toward the end of WWII; take a tour of a fascinating worldclass museum; and meet and greet 20 Pacific Northwest authors including the great chef, Greg Atkinson!

Okay, I'll be there with copies of the hard to find and out of print but not out of mind, SEYA'S SONG. This book is available normally from the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe or at used book sources. But, I will bring along copies and they will be available for sale with ALL proceeds going to restore salmon habitats on Marrowstone Island, Washington State.

You can order copies from me and I'll sign them on the 13th and ship for free. In the meantime, check out the museum website, or check them out on Facebook where you can discover more about this, one of my favorite local spots to hang out. Last time I was there, a docent showed me a torpedo that my Grandmother may well have helped construct during WWII when she was employed at Keyport. Gramma Daisy had two sons overseas in the Navy, one of whom was my Dad.........and so, she went to work as "Rosie the Riveter".......well, Daisy the Igniter Maker, and was very proud of her service to her country at a time of war.

I have a replica torpedo she made......or rather, our daughter now has the little silver undersea weapon that was one of the means used to end the war, including out at Midway Atoll, aka Pihemanu........a most incredible place now safe for nesting seabirds because of the US Navy.

See you on the 13th of November at Keyport. See http://www.navalunderseamuseum.org/ for more information about the event as well as much more about their fascinating history collections and ongoing lectures, family fun days, and more. Their gift shop is where I recently got my Dad a great Navy Vet hat and they also have cool ocean toys!

Ron Hirschi

14 October 2010


fresh sockeye.......

Scott Davis is planning his trip to sail from Marrowstone Island to collect plastic and other marine trash, headed up the Inside Passage. This effort continues the work initiated by the USFWS, NOAA, and State of Hawaii when they sent Ron and Fred to Pihemanu (aka Midway Atoll) in 2009.

As you know, plastic debris is a deadly ocean contaminant, bringing with it PCBs and other toxins. Many thousands of marine birds and other sea life are also killed directly by consuming plastic drifting on the waves and washing onto ocean shores.

Scott and Ron have already collected a large amount of plastic from Marrowstone beaches and could probably spend the rest of their lives doing just that............but why not expand the effort while educating and connecting with others who care about salmon, halibut, lingcod, herring, smelt, shrimp, Dungeness Crab, King Crab, spot prawns, butter clams, steamers, oysters, and those delicately delicious mussells........Why not help all who enjoy seafood eat healthier ocean dinners!

We ask anyone with an offer to help to be in touch. Help Scott launch his boat, pack a lunch, or meet him on the beach between Marrowstone and Whidbey, Whidbey and Orcas, Orcas and Vancouver, Vancouver and Ketchikan. Do what you can and be in touch for more news as Scott gets his beautiful wooden sailboat rigged for the launch.

In the meantime, check local and state and federal regulations regarding the safety of consuming shellfish, finfish, and other sea life. Mercury level warnings are alarming, but plastic derived contaminants are filling the sea and sea life. And, there are no warnings to you, the consumer or commercial harvester. Let's clean up the sea, together, before it is too late and their are no fresh fish fit to eat.

13 October 2010


Students at Tremont Elementary
in Upper Arlington, Ohio
were treated to Sipp Family Farm and Pond Days!

Taking kids outside leads to discoveries big and small.

Fred Joined students, teachers, parents, and friends of the school
to study water quality, investigate the forest, search for woodland art,
and much more.

Back at school, kids began a year of study, writing, art, and ecological awareness
led by caring teachers, including super Librarian, Claudia Fett!!!

Fred Cheers for kids catching fish, beetles, and TONS OF FROGS!!!

Thanks to the Sipp Family
and the Parent, Teacher, and Student Organization at Tremont
for helping kids learn in the out of doors.

No Child Should be Frogless,
and so, Friends of Fred have sent 

RIBIT to Ohio........stay tuned for tales from Ribit, Fred X310, and
how the kids of Ohio are saving frogs with help from
The Columbus Zoo. 

Scott Davis Cleans Up the Salish Sea

This is to introduce Friend of Fred, Scott Davis. I met him as I often meet young people with passion for the sea, by way of his Mother............Molly is a neighbor and friend who grew up near the likes of Buster Keaton and other famed Hollywood stars. Here on Marrow Stone it is not unusual to meet these gifted people and Molly and I walk together many days of each week. Her Sparky and our Monsoon love one another..............dogs find good people friends?

Scott learned sailing and life long learning from Molly and when he was a kid, Mollly took him and brothers from the Bay area to the Sea of Cortez......I've read her journal and marveled at the photos she took on that year long adventure. Her writing and chronicling the adventure ought to be a movie.

Scott now works on his wooden boat and plans to leave soon to draw attention to the ocean of plastic on our shores.................

Here is a small sample of his admirable and as yet unfunded project:

Scott's solo journey up the inside passage will begin soon. Here is his skiff, loaded with trash and reusable crab buoys, mooring buoys, and lots of holiday cups, straws, pop containers, and other debris found along Ft. Flagler State Park beaches on a recent cleanup with Fred....  You can see Fred all tangled up in some wire and other junk left behind by careless boaters, campers, and day visitors to the park. Scott's plans include stops at Canoe Family and other Friendly Ports from Marrowstone to Alaska.

His sailing abilities are vast and his experiences include service in the US Navy as a submariner quartermaster. So, Scott knows how to navigate troubled waters and his plastic mission is as clear as Fred and Friends. Scott will simply pick up plastic and other trash from the ocean, bring it ashore, and educate as he recycles and repurposes as thousands of others have, thanks to the original mission set by staff and students of Columbus School for Girls and Wyandot Elementary.

Be in touch with Scott through this blog site until Scott chooses another means of communication with the digital world.

Mahalo to Scott and the Davis Family!!! And thanks once again to all who helped Fred and Friends set sail on their many adventures in learning and helping Malama i ke kai i ka aina.

Please also know that Scott's sailboat has been invaded by some monkey........it seems to be wearing a tag oh so familiar. Could it be that sneaky Monkey who recently visited Haiti and Namibia........I don't see him hanging around the office...........where oh where is Fred. And, has anyone seen Mokapu, Eddie, or that bright sided Mahi Mahi last seen on its way for Wyoming???????

Here's Scott Davis picking up day use leavings at Fort Flagler State Park. In the distance you can see the Olympic Mountains. The water you see is Port Townsend Bay. The large log is from old day timber times and the small branches are the remains of more recent logging debris. Google Human Modification of Hood Canal and the Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, a report to the Point No Point Treaty Council, to learn why it is not good to remove these logs from beaches. Check out earlier postings here and at other sites to learn more about the dangers of marine debris and how to find ways of recycling.

NOTE TOO:  Jefferson County, thanks to Matt Hall and Skookum Recycling has been leading the way to find successful recycling mills. BUT, Skookum is constantly under attack due to mega waste management corporate efforts to take over small yet effective recyclers like Skookum. Find out more by calling Matt Hall at Skookum in Jefferson County, Washington and call Jefferson County officials to support Skookum and their tireless work to rid the beaches of plastic and other trash.



08 October 2010

FROG SAVERS IN OHIO.............

A photo or two will help you understand how special this was...............but before they appear, here are a few words to consider. Frogs. Frogs. Frogs. Frogs. Frogs.   

We caught five different species at Sipp Farm in the middle of a 70 acre forest tucked within the beautiful farm country of Central Ohio. We were out there with Original Fred X310, a bunch of 4th and 5th Graders and a lot of parents, teachers, and others. All came to have a fun day of science, art, story, water quality, picnic, and mushrooming as well as doing a bit of deer hunting preparation with the greatest of guys, Paul and Scott.

The trip was a revisit to Sipp Pond, a restored wetland filled with fish, water scorpions, diving beetles, dragonflies, tadpoles, and much more. What a healthy water world within the Mad River Watershed and pretty close to the Little Miami, a National Treasure that is a designated Wild and Scenic River and one that Fred visited last year with our friends from the Greater Cinncinatti area including Judy and a whole bunch of Mariemont Kids.

BUT back to the FROGS!!!! Kids at Tremont Elementary have partnered with the Coumbus Zoo to help learn more and educate others about FROGS..............So, it was a great day at Sipp Farm when we found FIVE different species in a world where others are saying frogs are disappearing! What's up? Stay tuned, but for now it appears that maybe, just maybe, all the protective legislation for cleaning up the air and water of our nation is working. The frogs certainly think so, according to one happy Happy Eyed Monkey named FRED..........But then, the frogs might just owe it all to a man named Paul........

Fred actually snuck away from me, Ron, as I left Tremont and Upper Arlington after enjoying ice cream at Graeters...............Fred looked at me over his shoulder and said, "I have a new mission here in Ohio. I'll work with these kids and their teachers and families to make sure Frog Friends of Fred like RIBIT (A Tsimshan from British Columbian Waters) are living a healthy lifestyle.

Apparently, Fred knows some Northwest Coast Indian Artist who sent RIBIT to Ohio to join him and the kids at Tremont. All I know is that RIBIT is a Frog of legend and carries with him or her? a lot of fun stuff about the Pacific Northeastern corner of the ocean world and Pacific Northwestern corner of North American watersheds.

I am guessing photos will be coming soon from Ribit, Fred X310, and other Friends of Fred.

In the meantime, here is a photo of Fred X310 during a summer hiatus on Long Island. Fred helped redecorate Martha Stewart's beach, dumping eighteen tons of recycled plastic chairs onto the upper edges, making sure none would wash to Marrowstone Island during a storm. According to Monkeys, Martha made some deals recently to insure high stock prices for all Chinese merchants dealing in recycled plastic products!! Fred's other inside trader scoops will appear along with all news of plastic frog toys, plastic microscopes, and the incredible number of so-called stainless steel tools being sold in America. Again, according to Monkeys, the Chinese industrial complex is teasing the American buyer into purchases of Iron Ore and Petroleum products made from natural resources from our country. Smart Chinese merchants. But wait. Does that mean we could also manufacture plastic lawn chairs in America? Could we turn Michigan ore into steel right here in the USA???????

Fred has been meeting with high level US officials all summer and into the fall, so stay tuned. He actually thinks he even has the ear of President Obama, but we will see! He certainly cherishes the time he spent with a certain FWS Belle! Bell? Something ringing true in Fred's ears..........

malama i ke kai,    ron hirschi, fredless once again on marrowstone island........

.......fredless but not friendless since a Mountain Goat Freind of Fred is thinking Rhode Island or is that someone calling from Canada?
"Oh Canada!", I heard a man sing this summer from the shores of Hebegen Lake just outside of Yellowstone where I first ran into Yellowstoney the Mountain Goat in a campground downtown in Gardiner Montana when we were just hiking along..........Yellowstoney, like Mokapu and Eddie, are Friends of Fred and searches for her mate......

All 52 Friends of Fred appear destined to save the world, one creature at a time. Do be watching for Fred hitching a ride on a Great Lakes Ore Ship! He does have a lot of friends in the waters of Walleye, Pike, and Pikerel. Yummmmmm. And beaver, otter, mahi mahi, yellowstoney, buffalo, crabbie, and more will arrive, often unannounced to begin a visit with you and your family, students, or office partners. THEY ARE HERE TO STAY and MAY GET IN THE WAY OF BUSINESS AS USUAL if business as usual includes keeping kids indoors. No child should be frogless, without a fishing pole, or with no place to listen to the birds sing. Please do open the doors of your classrooms and learn with nature. Thanks from Marrowstone Island...........

07 October 2010

It's Me, Fred X310.........I'm BACK!

Okay, school is back in session and Fred X310. Yes, the Original Fred of Pihemanu, CSG, FWS, NOAA, Mokapu, Rhode Island, Haiti, Namibia, SouthAfrica, and much more fame and notoriety..........Fred the Happy Eyed Monkey is back.

Sort of.

Actually, Fred is down in Upper Arlington!!!! He is hanging out with kids who care about FROGS. After all, Frogs are one of the most important species on Planet Earth. They help us understand water. WAI. Wealth. Quality of LIFE............

And so, Fred will be talking story to all of us soon. Oh. By the way. Friends of Fred, including RIBIT, a Frog from the Tsimshans up north, MahiMahi from Hawaii, and of course, Yellowstoney the Mountian Goat are all traveling the planet in good ways.............you will be treated to story, photos and much more from one and all by way of Fred, that incredible monkey who was born in Hawaii (kinda like Obama guy?) but who went to school in Dublin, then hitched a ride to Washington with Papa Kupuna Ron............the rest is his and her story..................stay tuned and do check out all things happening with Mokapu, Rhode Island, Wilson School, Breidablik, Tremont, Fishing Cove, Cougar Fund, Pals of the Pacific, and the United States Navy and Marine Corps (YOU Rock)...........Thanks to Commander Robert Rice and General John Broadmeadow and to be sure, Michelle and Eva! You buggers!

SPECIAL THANKS TO CLAUDIA AND BASIL who are the best friends of Fred ever! Oh, and those Mexican Tomato Plants in Arlington............they can feed the world. With a little help from the Sipp Family and Johnsons and Lowries here on Mstone............

Cheers,   Ron and Fred, reunited thanks to Annie Bell and Judy and Jody!!!

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.