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.

14 November 2010

Golf Balls Floating the Seven or Eight or Nine Hole Seas.........

Aloha Sunday and a big win for our Seattle Seahawks today. Great game and great to watch it with son-in-law, Scott...........Scott is a pretty competitive golfer and has a lot of fun with his friends out on the green grassy fields from here to Kauai........I played with him once over there at the beautiful course just above Kalaheo where, when you play, you can enjoy so much local culture and gaze out across the ocean to the far away west and northwest. The McBride Family created and dedicated the course to all, so that today, even a person like me can enjoy the game and on that special day, I even hit the ball onto the green in one shot. Once......

Which brings me to the point of this small story. A small story. But one with a big message for anyone who loves the game of golf.

I brought a golf ball with me today. After the Seahawks had secured the win, I got the ball and did a little experiment with it.......You see, this was not any ordinary ball. I found it on the beach on Kauai just two weeks ago. It washed up on Papa'a Bay's shore just inches from where a glass ball dropped onto the sand. It looked to have been in the ocean for a long, long, long, long, long time as Harrison Ford might have said had he found it when he was starring on the very spot in Six Days and Seven Nights.........

Scott confirmed this after examing the ball. It is an old golf ball, maybe 40 years at sea.

So, where do you suppose it came from?

My friend Carey Morishige assures me that a flip flop can drift from Hawaii to Marrowstone Island.

Could a golf ball drift from the Port Ludlow Golf Course by Scott's house to Papa'a Bay on the island of Kauai in Hawaii??????

My first test of this was to place the ball in a glass of freshwater.

I should say that I had the great pleasure just yesterday of finally meeting Curtis Ebesmeyer in person. We had talked before and I stood in for him at a lecture in Oregon, one that he was unable to attend. It was a fun night in Salem and he thanked me yesterday for taking his place. That said, Curtis laughed about golfers not believing that golf balls float...............

And so, I took my Papa'a Bay golf ball and dropped it into the glass full of freshwater. It bounced off the bottom of the glass as if trying to float and it more or less danced a bit before settling pretty much on the bottom.

Next test?

I added sea salt to the taste of Scott and I.........the taste we share of a gulf of sea water after maybe not getting the mask just right. Or, in my case, of drinking a bit of Hanalei Bay recently just for the refreshing thought of bringing ocean into my body.........

What do you think happend on our placing the golf ball into a sea water mini ocean???

Sure enough, just as Curtis would predict.

Golf Balls float in sea water even if they sink in fresh.

Next test I will not perform for ethical reasons. No. I will not toss the golf ball into the sea with marks on it to see if it is recovered somewhere on the planet.


But, please be in touch to answer my question. Could the golf ball have drifted out of the Salish Sea, into the Pacific, and found its way to the central point at Papa'a Bay?

Mahalo nui for any thoughts. And, more importantly, please fetch your golf balls if they fall into any body of water, especially those leading to the sea.

Ron Hirschi
Marrow Stone Island, Washington USA

ps   Great Game Today Seahawks! 

No comments:

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.