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.

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...........

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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.