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.

28 November 2010

MONK SEALS........WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT! Or Maybe.......It is All About Us?

This is young T12, a Monk Seal Pup born at Larsen's Beach on Kauai April 2010. I photographed T12 up and down Aliomanu Bay in late October. On this morning, the young seal had been trying to come ashore after a night of solo feasting, no doubt on lobster and other invertebrates or maybe a fish or two.......... T12 was being bounced on the head and body by a large plastic fishing buoy. The size of a bowling ball, the buoy is one of hundreds of thousands that break away from mile after mile of discarded debris floating in the world's oceans.

I walked around T12 and grabbed the buoy just as it was about to slip into the current and round the point and wash away into distant and remote Papa'a Bay. As if a gift for doing so, when I turned back to photograph the seal for identification, I looked to my feet and there, inches from the snout of the seal was a beautiful Hebrew Cone........a treasure to share with kids, just like this true life story.

Monk Seals love nothing more than to come ashore and bask in the air, partly to simply sleep, but also to avoid tiger sharks. Avoiding predators has been something they have had to deal with for all the centuries of their existence. Harpoons almost wiped them out during whaling days. Now, they must deal with the PCB/PBDE and other chemical threats like orcas and other marine mammals..........And, the threat from plastics is not just a hindering hastle like the buoy bouncing T12 around that morning.

Plastics wash ashore on all beaches on earth. Out at Pihemanu, I observed hundreds of dead albatross, killed directly by plastic. I also listened to biologist, Brenda Becker, mourn the decline of Monk Seal populations. One problem is genetics and the monk seal population size, post human arrival in their midst........But a much larger problem is the no doubt unseen deaths due to plastics, fish nets, cargo nets, and the many pollutants we directly or indirectly pour into the ocean each second of the day. (Note: The above photo of an entangle pinniped, courtesy Dr. Hans Van Weenen of the Netherlands; photo source: C.W. Fowler of the National Marine Mammal Lab, Seattle, Washington USA).

Do Monk Seals matter? That is another way of asking my earlier question about their major breeding grounds within Papahanaumokuakea. Add to this list........Do sea turtles, spinner dolphins, or mahi mahi matter?

Help us find ways of redirecting plastics from the sea. And check out a recent video at :
http://tinyurl.com/2fbtruh submitted by Vicki Osis.......Thanks Vicki! And Scuttlebutt/NMEA.

Project SOAR and Friends of Fred are now sending Teaching Packets around the world. The packets include An Original Fred, A Friend of Fred such as an orca, seal, or other animal in need of your help, a traveling journal, gifts from NOAA and the USFWS, along with activities, suggested projects, and links to schools and other community minded places of education.

Contact whalemail@waypoint.com of find a Fred somewhere in England, Switzerland, Australia, Hawaii, the Mainland USA and join Fred and Friends in their many water related projects.


I recently posed this question to some who care deeply about the fate of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. This place where, according to legend, Papahanaumokua and Wakea did their magic and created living space for all who need a foothold on planet earth.

Ever since visiting the atoll (aka Midway), I have thought of this large question, especially last spring when I was a guest of the US Marines as an artist and writer in residence at Mokapu Elementary. While at Mokapu, I learned a great deal about Hawaiian history, culture, and the history of the US involvement in wars in the Pacific.

I think most people know that Pearl Harbor stands as one of the most important military battle places. And yet, when I ask adults and children if they know where the first bombs were dropped on December 7, 1941, it is a rare (1 in more than a thousand) person who knows that the Japanese target on that day was first zeroed in on Mokapu.

Take a look on a map to see where this beautiful piece of Oahu is located. Visit the area today, tucked as it is alongside Kaneohe Bay on the windward side of the island...........Why would the enemy want to take out Mokapu before rising over the Koolau to drop more on Pearl? Certainly, to target the US Marine Corps stationed there, then as now.........but you have to wonder. Did they also want to damage or attempt to destroy the sacred ground of Mokapu? For, it was here, again according to legend, that the birth of the first Kai Kane happened........humans created here, so far from Pihemanu up on the fringes of Papahanaumokuakea --- the third place bombed on that day that plunged the United States into World War II.

I have been to Midway and Mokapu.........with chances to do so, I have hesitated a visit to Pearl Harbor. It's a long story, but my Dad could have been on the Arizona alongside his buddy, Chewy Mathison who went down on that battleship on December 7th.......Dad retells the story and also let me know recently, that he sailed past Midway during the war, on his way to South Korea and other destinations aboard an LSM. Like so many Navy Vets, he is humble about his war time heroics but I'm proud of what he accomplished.

Most of us who have gotten to travel to Papahanaumokuakea in recent months do so in hopes of bringing greater awareness of the plight of our ocean's health. Plastic trash has been a big focus of mine. It is also important for each of us to remember its place in the larger story of our planet and how the mythology of Hawaiians allows a beautiful way of thinking how life started. As a child of the 60s, I guess I lean as well on idealistic hopes that learning about Papahanaumokuakea, Midway, Mokapu, Pearl Harbor, and war in general.......that learning and sharing story of these interconnected places can help bring about world peace.

There is a power in these places far beyond human capability of understanding. Not that Papahanaumokua was ever a walking talking "Earth Mother" or that Wakea was dancing in the sky as Father of All.......Nope. I just love the story, just like the story of Jesus is so compelling, especially this time of year......And as one who gets to work with a lot of great teachers and thousands of kids, it is nice to have stories like the ones associated with Papahanaumokuakea in my pocket. To share, best I can.

Yes, Papahanumokuakea matters. It matters so much that I want to share my experiences there for as long as I am able. Few humans will ever have the opportunity of visiting Midway....Pihemanu.......But a heck of a lot of albatross, boobies, frigates, spinner dolphins, ulua, honu, and concerned scientists will be there, hopefully forever. Well, not forever, because the life kick started by Earth Mom and Sky Dad insured one thing would happen.......change. Just as the Big Island of Hawaii has risen from the depths, Pihemanu sinks under the very weight of its volcanic stone. Midway is sinking fast, geologically speaking, and so, we need to insure, more than ever, that the albatross, boobies, frigates, shearwaters, honu, monk seals, and other life dependent on ISLANDS find safe havens.

As sea levels rise, scientists can only send messages to those of us living on mainlands and main islands.......THE ISLANDS ARE SINKING AND THE SEA IS RISING.

Papahanaumokuakea, then becomes a kind of messenger from the past as well as a predictor of future outcomes. It matters to pay attention to what is going on out there, just as it is important to pay attention to Palau and other Island Nations. Listen up. Rise Up. Let your voices join with the creatures who need us to share our planet.

Ron Hirschi
Marrow Stone Island, Another Disappearing Piece of our Planet
November 2010  


22 November 2010


I took this photo a couple of weeks ago along Papa'a Bay on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

I also found a couple of glass fishing floats this same trip, a time of high surf along the entire windward coasts of the islands. It was nice to find the glass treasures, something I point out for kids in my book so beautifully illustrated by Yuko Green, WINTER IS FOR WHALES.

That book is for young people. This image is for those of us trying to figure out how to deal with the ever increasing disregard for our planet. Anyone who has read this blog or attempted to understand ocean issues knows that we are all to blame and we are all needed to find a fix for plastics entering watersheds and, eventually, marine food webs.

I remember being out on Midway Atoll not that long ago. Standing on the beach there, literally watching albatrosses and frigates dead or dying of plastic was truly a wake up call for me. I suppose if we all had to sit and watch a baby albatross die, we might feel a bit more of the resolve needed to come to grips with the issue? I don't know.

Regardless, you can see in this close view, just a small fraction of the beach plastic I removed from the ocean in just one morning. Fishing floats from Asia were much more prevalent on this day. I also noted more shampoo, conditioner, and other "health and beauty aids" washed ashore. You can see, quite clearly, that a Seattle box store contributes greatly to trash. Should we blame Costco for adding to the problem? Should we blame Taiwanese and Japanese float manufacturers?

All I can say is that I remember walking Kauai beaches just twenty years ago and finding far fewer "treasures" like this.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!
Marrowstone Island, Washington State

15 November 2010


Our daughter, like most ocean people, loved Keiko.

It seemed fitting today to help all who might gaze into Keiko's eyes
think back on the wider meanings behind capture, movie versions of oceans,
and what Keiko has meant.

Nichol loved visiting Keiko in Oregon.

You can guess what Keiko thought of her.
I know, as her father, that any living creature feels safe in her midst.

Thanks Cols for all you do to help others find the beauty.

And for any of you with powers of perception in all imagery dealings,
let me know if you can focus the image in the reflection.

This thought........it might, just maybe, show what Keiko saw in Nichol's eyes
that day.

From the shores of the Salish Sea. November 2010 as a half dozen orcas
swim nearby........

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! 

10 November 2010



I posed the question earlier. Can a flip flop. Slippa. Can a slight little sandal drift at sea all the way from Hawaii to Marrowstone Island in Washington State.

Going straight to a NOAA source, I find this out and more for you to explore.

Carey Morishige, Outreach Coordinator of the NOAA Marine Debris Program in Honolulu, a person who has helped many of us in recent times of interest in ocean issues, says,

"Yes. It is possible given the current patterns, that a slipper could drift from the Hawaiian Islands to Marrowstone."

Here is a graphic that helps to explain this pattern of ocean water movement at the surface, at least. remember that I picked up a lot of flip flops out on Kauai where 30 foot surge waves were washing the north shore last week, bringing in a lot of the accumulated garbage in the swath of the sea we call a convergence zone. Here on Marrowstone, I picked up a lot more trash tonight in a different form of convergence in which nearshrore drift patterns converge at the north shore of our island, bringing us all kinds of interesting trash from near and far.

Tonight, I picked up or obeyed laws prohibiting touching the usual mix of lighters, binky, straws, shoes, PVC, dead birds, marine mammal parts, and assorted debris......AND found the coolest but single flip flop from Quiksilver! Cool embossed sole just right for ocean art stamping with kids!

Anyway, here is the NOAA map to show you how tons and tons of trash move to our coast from the east:

I also find a fair number of Asian items. Mostly plastic bottles. Out on Kauai and especially at Midway, I find tons of Asian fishing items. If you want some, let me know.

Please also go to the great site NOAA develops and maintains:


Fred and NOAA are much in the same line of work.......only NOAA really needs you to support them in a big way by letting your representatives know how vital they are to the ocean's future. Fred can get by since he does not need anything other than bananas for support!


FRIENDS OF FRED is a global project aimed to help teachers and others make use of the many connections made by PROJECT SOAR.

The long term goal is to circulate several of each of 52 Species that represent major Watershed and Ocean habitats in need of our attention. This practical and important work makes it easier for students and the larger communities within those habitat areas to ACT in some responsible way while learning about the world.

As a Writer, Biologist, and Author, I have spent my entire career working to protect and restore habitats. My specialty as a scientist has been mainly with fish habitats of rivers, streams, and coastal areas. I have a lot of experience dealing with difficult land use decisions and count among my friends some of the most effective "players" in this profession. These people include guys like Jim Lichatowich who wrote the book, SALMON WITHOUT RIVERS........That book stirred up a heck of a lot of help for salmonid waters. I also get to work with gifted teachers like Dr. Sharon Buda and Ray Lowrie; Deb Charna; Claudia Fett, Tracy Poduska, Michelle Kaskovich, and Mary Fox. Together, we have led children out into waters to make sure they experience the water world FIRST HAND............

If we fail in our efforts to take children out into the real world, we will continue to lose more and more healthy habitats. True, there have been great strides with endangered species protection and increased restoration. But as one of my early mentors with Washington Department of Game told a group of us starry eyed grad students at the University of Washington, "There is always going to be a new batch of idiots elected who will undo your good works."

Say no more. These days we stand to lose our oceans simply because of our ignorance in relation to the connections between upper reaches of watersheds and the sea.

In the old days, many people around the planet had land divisions similar to those held under ethically bound rules of use of resources. Hawaiians, for example, divided up the islands so that decisions about logging, taro planting, fishing, and other land uses made sense from mountain top to river valleys and on as well as into the ocean. Fishing was banned when necessary and strict kapu helped those with authority to make sure overharvest did not take place. Sure, there were problems with the system such as wide scale alteration of native plants and birds. But the principal remains important: We need to think of land and waterscapes to manage effectively.

What does this have to do with a bunch of silly stuffed animals at the heart of "Friends of Fred"?

Friends of Fred begin life with me, here on Marrow Stone Island in Washington State. Like Fred the monkey, they start a journey of discovery, learning, and action. Sometimes, they end up helping kids talk story and create wonderful art and writing projects such as BIG BOOKS like those at Wilson School in Wyoming, Fishing Cove Elementary in Rhode Island, and Mokapu Elementary on Oahu.

Currently, a beautifully crafted Northwest Coast Style Frog named Ribit is in the hands of students working with the Columbus Zoo on projects to help endangered amphibians. A Monk Seal just traveled to Ohio to join the cause, helping kids to link the frog project with the distant ocean world of marnie mammals. A tiny but accurately crafted Laysan Albatross, gifted to me by the USFWS at Kilauea on Kauai is now in Edmonds, Washingto with a student from King's School. Cougars continue to circulate as part of a Cougar Fund project begun in the wilds of Oahu of all places to find a mountain lion........

All the Friends of Fred bring smiles first, then thought, then actions. My intent is to help teachers use these little buggers to use playful inquiry into the lives of young hearts and minds.

As my friend and colleague, Tom Mangelsen shows the world, the beauty of nature brings us in to the world of appreciation first........We can all appreciate the majestic sight of a Polar Bear in northern light and can enjoy the seemingly happy face of a Monk Seal just wiggling out of the surf and onto a sandy beach in Hawaii.

At the same time, we know there are extremely difficult decisions to be made if Polar Bears and Monk Seals are to survive. In fact, Monk Seal populations are declining at a rate that projects extinction for the species and hope for Polar Bears is not exactly as promising as the increase in eagle populations or frog numbers in the rapidly developing rural fringes of Columbus, Ohio.

We are connected to Polar Bears, Monk Seals, and Frogs in more ways than we currently understand and so, Friends of Fred joins other attempts to help young minds begin journeys of discovery in hopes kids of today grow more successfully into stewards of planet earth as they all too quickly become a part of the world of competion between species, habitats, and conflicts over oil, water, fish, trees, jobs, and the very future of planet earth.

Friends of Fred might show up in your community soon. Be watching for a kid carrying a stuffed animal, not just to collect some cute toy, but to engage you in decisions about our daily impact on habitats from mountain top to river valleys to the sea........Have fun if you wish to join in the networks created as Friends spread around the world. This is not a top down project.......it simply is what it becomes and it is up to you to grab a seal, turtle, bear, spider, crab, lobster, mountain goat, deer, trout, whale, or other Friend of Fred.

Contact me for a starter kit that includes any of 52 different species (YES there are more than one of each just as there are more than one Fred); a journal with your Friend's first steps into the wild world; any links to organizations, schools, teachers, and other information to help you start a project in a school or community, or simply in your own backyard or beach or stream..........Simple as that.

I will add a couple of photos to share recent activities of some Friends of Fred, but also check the histories of Fred here and at other sites such as Learn to Sea, a not for profit in England or AUSMEPA in Australia.

Ron Hirschi
PO Box 899
Hadlock, Washington 98339

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!

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.