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 November 2010


JUST A SAD REMINDER..........Jeff, Trevor, and I wandered one day to the "Graveyard" on Midway Atoll's Sand Island, aka Pihemanu.........I took this photo of a dead Laysan Albatross. You can see some of the hundred or more bits of plastic and larger pieces the bird ate when its parent fed the near fledgling bird. The adult Albatross had given the baby bird plastic as it regurgitated the "food" from a foraging trip into the young one's mouth and throat. The adult had flown out into the North Pacific to pluck "food" from the ocean surface, now littered with Trillions and Trillions of pieces of plastic, discarded from land based people of planet earth. As you can see, we all contribute to this Ocean Trash. It is not an island of garbage. It is not a patch we can sweep up. It is, well, it is a sea of waste and while many people argue about how much there is and how to clean it up, we have, my friends, passed a point of difficulty and need to clean up our act.

So, I pose the following bit of news and a question, hopefully directed to the proper authorities with NOAA, Municipal Garbage People, National Leaders, and anyone brave enough to take on the petrochemical businesses that float this junk into our arms, then into the sea..............

My Question: 

Just back from Kauai where we picked from the beach three beautiful glass balls.......treasures along with great shells,including a nice gifted granulated cowry from local guy, Leo......Mahalo Leo, big time!.......

I also saw and even picked up a couple of tons of plastic trash and trashtic fantastic stuff like maybe one ton of fishing floats up to two feet in diameter. We wonder, will these plastic balls be the next generations glass treasures? I don't think so, based on seeing how they begin to harden, then scuff, then break apart into microplastics like most other forms of this insidious and increasingly alarming ocean debris.

All this to ASK: Especially maybe, friend Linda on Oahu if you are listening in.......As soon as I got home and slept a bit, I went down to the beach here on Marrow Stone Island in Washington state............My pup, Monsoon was up by 6. Dark. But we headed down to East Beach and by daylight, I started picking up trash along with the stick to throw for Monsoon........she was excited to be back on the beach.......gotta fetch.......gotta dig in da sand.......her best work!

So, anyway, I find a flip flop. I begin to wonder. After having picked up many many many flip flops in the islands the past couple weeks, over on Kauai's windward shore where we found the glass balls.............COULD IT BE POSSIBLE FOR FLIP FLOPS TO DRIFT ALL THE WAY TO MARROWSTONE ISLAND FROM HAWAII?

That's my question to anyone out there with knowledge of oceans. Wind from the east, so those trades might prevent this from happening, but what about currents?????? I know that the albatrosses we see out on Midway come to our shore, so maybe some tricky albatross picked up a slippa and dropped it off, just to confuse me?

The flip flop in question is a lady's maybe size seven in black with decoration of silver beading on strap dealie.......you know, the part going over your foot......it was on the beach right at the strand line where I also found plenty of caps, lighters, bottles, and stuff just right for my next big art movement. To try to find ways of making this plastic found object into sellable products. Functional art and functional building material like they do in that country over the other side of the ocean that sends back our recycled material on the huge ship passing, literally as I type........It says on its side, CHINA, in huge letters and is steaming into Seattle or Tacoma to unload Christmas toys of plastic, shoes of plastic, chairs, hair dryers, and all those things you buy for use of alimited time then toss into the recyled bin only to go to China to be resent over here in the big ship that...........and so on and on and on......

Thanks for any response and be looking for news from Brand newly discovered Cousin of Fred, FredE727 who wears an Aloha Shirt and wears, guess what? FLIP FLOPS. Oh so cool a little monkey he is and he is looking for a school out there wishing for avisit from Fred and his new Friend, A beautiful little Honu crafted by Douglas Toys, the same people who made the original FredX310......who, by the way is visiting Tremont Elementary in Ohio, working with kids on an Amphibian project with Ribit, a Frog from the Pacific northwest.

Cheers,  Ron Hirschi and FredE727......The Aloha Fred!

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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.