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.

13 October 2010

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.



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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.