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 February 2011


For those of us who came to know responsibility with the help of poetic music
of the sixties and early seventies,
These words ring. Where have all the flowers gone......Okay, Pete got alot of us
thinking as we entered our professional lives. 
In his song, as in many of his works, we might think about injustices
related to war and the hope of peace on the planet.

Tonight, I walked the beach here on Marrowstone Island.
Susan and Howard Berta of the Orca Network had sent out a note
to let us know there were whales in the area........And so, I went on my
evening beach walk and cleanup a bit earlier than normal. It was easy.
We had SUN today and Monsoon was eager to swim.

I hoped to see the whales, but when I got to the beach, a lot of military
boat traffic apparently frightened the whales. They were actually within
a reach of water I could see in the distance --- down near Point No Point,
a very historic place.........But then, they suddenly turned south
as the shipping noise probably interfered with their movements.
Sonar perhaps.........not uncommon and needed to be sure during
our time of war.......

Monsoon and I walked the beach and found a lot of mesh netting. We stopped a lot,
scanning the water as the ships disappeared only to be replaced by the
endless stream of freighters leaving Seattle and Tacoma.

No whales in sight.

I kept putting the binocs on Craven Rock to my south.

Sea Lions perched atop the rock sat without making any sound.

No seals were in the water. No porpoises. 

As it grew dark, I walked to the very northern tip of the island and 
began a closer look at the drift line where high tide dropped 
some of what you see in the above photo......... 

Right there, Tangled together in seaweed ---
a plastic flower and one Green Soldier.

Now the soldier rests on my desk with a blue one....
but this green guy fascinates. He holds binoculars, not a rifle..........
and, curiously, mixed in the very same tangle was a tiny plastic bag.

If you look closely at the photo you will see dollar signs printed on the tiny plastic pouch.

Where have all the plastic flowers gone? All I know is that some wash up on our shore. 
Some have gone to soldiers. Some float with plastic bags once holding funds of some sort.

If you notice too.........that tiny Earth squeeze ball above the flower.......
It was a gift from some young students......I pick it up daily and give it a few squeezes.
Printed on the Earth:

"Reduce Stress
on the Earth:
Support Family Planning"

As many kids say to me, this is what it is all about. What it comes down to.
There are simply too many plastic soldiers on the planet because, well, hey,
there are far too many of everyting. Apparently there are now so many
plastic flowers that we need another Pete Seeger to sing their song.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am Glad i found this website.Added soaronhirschi.blogspot.com to my bookmark!

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.