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.

05 December 2012

Plastic Shores........The Movie

If you are looking for a video......a movie.........any compelling production that tells the story of plastics in our oceans, please watch and share PLASTIC SHORES.

Edward Scott-Clarke and LMV Productions have created the best I've seen in fun yet highly informational and inspiring footage to compliment the story line in this fantastic movie.

Show it, share it, send copies to friends and others you wish to inspire!

Downloadable copies available at www.plasticshoresmovie.com

Everything I've tried to share in SOAR is packed into this AND more.......

Much Aloha and Malama i ke Kai,

Ron Hirschi
Now at: PO Box 22
Poulsbo, Washington 98370
Still at whalemail@waypoint.com

14 June 2012

Eighth Grade Students at The Bush School Take Actions to Reduce Plastic Pollution

There are many ways everyone can help clean up the environment and reduce our consumption of plastics. Although we cannot become independent from plastics entirely, everybody should take small steps every day to help reduce plastic consumption. After Ron Hirschi’s visit to The Bush School and the Eighth Grade Science class, our class decided to take his challenge to find and use alternatives to plastic. We also conducted a beach clean up at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle, Washington to remove plastic and other trash from the beach.

Students found plastic alternatives for many products such as plastic bottles and plastic bags. Here are some of the products that the eighth graders at Bush found alternatives for.

Plastic bottles: Some students had decided to reduce the amount of plastic bottles that they use in their everyday lives. Students found some alternatives for plastic bottles such as using reusable water bottles. Students used the reusable water bottles for everyday use as their alternative. Other students used chemical free plastic water bottles so when they need to be thrown out they can be put into the recycle.

Plastic utensils: One student and his family put the time and effort into washing plastic utensils so that they would be reusable. Another student purchased inexpensive, reusable metal utensils to cut down on their family’s consumption of plastic.

Plastic Ziploc bags: When students brought lunches to school in zip lock bags they found after they had finished they would throw away the plastic bag and go on with their day. To eliminate the Ziploc bags, some students packed their lunch in Tupperware or reusable plastic containers and then reused the container. Also, on one of the Experiential Week camping trips, students reused their Ziploc bag for their lunch the entire week. These two efforts saved many plastic bags and helped our efforts to reduce plastic use.

Plastic shopping bags: Every year, Americans use approximately 1 billon shopping bags; that creates 300,000 tons of landfill waste (cleanair.org). Students in our class wanted to reduce the amount of plastic bags that they use on an everyday basis. Students found alternatives for plastic bags such as reusable fabric bags. They used the reusable fabric bags as grocery shopping bags to haul items in.

Toothbrushes: Most students at The Bush School use disposable toothbrushes for dental hygiene. These toothbrushes consist of plastic material which cannot be recycled. To reduce this consumption of plastic, some students decided to buy a reusable toothbrush handle that fits with disposable brush heads. Others decided to use an electric toothbrush where you still replace the toothbrush head, but it lasts longer than most of the inexpensive plastic toothbrush heads.

Pens: At The Bush School, students are consistently using cheap throw away pens which are not recyclable. These pens contain plastic material and ink which causes it to have to be put in the garbage. Students also lose these pens frequently and some pens may be dropped outside and become litter. Street litter often washed into storm drains and ends up in Puget Sound. To stop this students have decided to keep track of these plastic pens, and they have decided to find refillable fountain pens that can be reused and are also recycled.

Plastic BBs: Another unique way that a student was able to reduce his plastic consumption was by reducing his plastic use with a very specific item. This item would be known as an “airsoft gun”, which is a plastic toy gun that shoots plastic pellets. This student decided that his way of reducing his plastic consumption would be to start using biodegradable pellets which would take about 2 months to degrade versus the 9 months-1 year time that it would take for a non-biodegradable plastic pellet.

These are just some of the very simple and easy ways to reduce your plastic consumption. We hope that you consider using our ideas. If we can take simple and easy steps like these in our everyday lives, together we can reduce the amount of plastic that we consume. There are many more creative ways to use recyclable or compostable and re-usable items for everyday purposes. If we all try these simple steps to becoming more environmentally friendly we will have much less plastic winding up in bodies of water and on beaches. This is important because plastic pollutes these bodies of water and can kill important and endangered wildlife.

Written by Adam, Chris, Jack, Max, Leeds, and Jackson with additional input from Maya, Aubra, Yamina, and Abby in the Eighth Grade Science Class of The Bush School.

31 May 2012

Some Pictures from Ron Hirschi's Visit to The Bush School

Here three students sift the sand and find plastic pieces. 

A student examines the pieces of debris under a microscope.

Ron Hirschi talking to some students. 

Students sifting and making observations.

Looking for microplastic floating along the surface.

We want to thank him again for spending time with us.
-8th Grade Class at The Bush School

23 May 2012

8th grade students at The Bush School analyze plastic debris from beaches on and near Marrowstone Island

Quantitative analysis of small-plastic debris on beaches on Marrowstone Island and two nearby beaches in the Puget Sound waters of Washington.

Members of the Eighth Grade Science Class at The Bush School, Seattle WA 98112, USA

Nineteen samples of plastic beach debris from eight locations throughout north Puget Sound were analyzed. At each collection site, around 40 ml of debris samples and sand were collected and later sorted by categories pertaining to type and size. Although plastic debris was found on all collection sites, the most debris collected in one sample was found on Irondale beach. Microplastic (plastics smaller than 1mm), was also found in 73% of the 19 samples and a total of 42 pieces of plastic were collected from the eight beaches. 50% of plastics found were fragments (plastics greater than1mm), and 17% percent of the plastics were bottle caps. The analysis confirms the presence of plastics in Puget Sound. This debris is common in the region of Marrowstone Island and affects the environment.

Tidal currents flow from the Straight of Juan de Fuca through Admiralty Inlet and into Puget Sound bringing water, plastic, and other debris from the Pacific Ocean into Puget Sound. Similarly, an outgoing tidal current brings water, plastic, and other debris from the Tacoma/Seattle area back out to the Pacific Ocean. Since Admiralty Inlet lies to the north and to the east of Marrowstone Island, many of these tidal currents also bring plastic and other debris to the shores of Marrowstone Island (Features of Puget Sound). Plastic and debris enters the Pacific Ocean from the land of surrounding countries and states as well as from transportation from international industries. Much of this plastic and debris from the Pacific Ocean builds up on the Hawaiian islands. Similarly, plastic and debris from the Seattle/Tacoma area as well as from the Pacific Ocean builds up on Marrowstone Island beaches and on nearby beaches. The plastic pollution affects the wildlife and the surrounding environment.
 Most of the plastic items found in the nineteen samples on or near Marrowstone Island were small items such as foam pieces, pellets, push-pins, and even microplastic (plastic less than 1 mm in diameter). Most of these items are not recyclable. While some of this debris is litter left on the beach by visitors to the beach, it is likely that many of these products washed up on the beach from the Puget Sound waters. The plastic debris could have entered the water by falling off transportation ships or by being swept up by rain water and carried down storm drains.
Many of these plastic items and the smaller plastic debris can be, and are ingested by the wildlife on the islands or surrounding waterways. In Puget Sound there are whales which end up eating these plastic fragments and becoming sick from plastic intake. Research has shown that many animals that eat plastic also face nutritional loss, some internal injuries, blockage in the internal organs and starvation (Baird, R.W., Hooker, S.K and Blight, L.K., Burger, A.E and Hirschi and Mallory).  Various types of plastics were found in different types of fish and birds (Pierce). The plankton that live in the ocean can also ingest the small particles of plastic. Many of the fish and larger aquatic animals eat plankton so this could also be very unhealthy for many of the sea animals (McDermid). The prevalence of plastic in these small samples taken from beaches in Puget Sound helps us understand why plastics are affecting the health of Puget Sound ecosystems.

Materials and Methods
Nineteen samples of sand and debris were collected from Marrowstone Island and two nearby locations.  There were samples from the following locations: Point North, Mystery Bay, East Beach (8 samples), West Beach, Marrowstone Point (2 samples), Point East (3 samples), Indian Island, and Irondale Beach. (See the map below where arrows mark the locations where samples were taken.)
Samples were collected at each location by Mr. Ron Hirschi at the first spot where he saw plastic in the sand at the high tide line. The samples were taken at the high tide mark with a sideways scoop horizontally. Each sample was approximately 40 ml in volume due to the fact that some had slightly more debris than others.
Mr. Hirschi brought the samples to The Bush School where it was handed out to Eighth Grade students. The samples were sent through a series of sorting:
Visual collection: First students collected the large pieces of plastic with their hands. They counted those to see how many large pieces of plastic made it to Marrowstone Island and nearby beaches.
Sifter: Then the samples were sifted with a testing sieve that had two mm holes. This was to take out all small pieces that may be hiding in the sand and be able to identify plastics.
Wet sort: Then the remaining sand was put through a wet sort. A wet sort is where you put the sand in a plastic container that contains two inches of water. All plastic floated to the top. This also showed us the microplastic.
Microscope: Finally students took all the unusual plastics or pieces of debris and looked at them under a microscope to determine their identity.
The data table below shows the results of this sorting process for each of the nineteen samples from beaches on or near Marrowstone Island and also shows the results for the one sample from Hawaii. 

Our class found that fourteen of the nineteen samples contained microplastic (plastic smaller them 1 mm in diameter) and we found 42 pieces of plastic (significantly larger than microplastic) in the nineteen samples. Comparing this to the sample in Hawaii, we discovered that this was a small amount. The one sample from Papaa Bay, Kauai had 31 pieces of plastic in the sand and debris sample. In the nineteen samples (not counting Hawaii) we found 21 fragments and 21 pieces of larger, identifiable plastic. We identified these larger pieces of plastic and grouped them into categories including: bottle caps, pellets, pen parts, and shotgun shells. In total we found 21 fragments, 7 bottle caps, no pellets, 2 pen parts, and 1 shotgun shell. (See the data table for more details about our results.)
These nineteen samples were all gathered from different areas on Marrowstone Island (Point North, Mystery Bay, East Beach, Marrowstone Point, Point East) or nearby on Irondale Beach and Government Cut on Indian Island. Although there were a lot of pieces of debris in these small samples, there are many more in the sample from Hawaii. In the sample from Hawaii, there were 31 total plastic pieces.

In the nineteen samples that were collected at or near Marrowstone Island there was a large number of fragments. There was a large number of bottle caps found (7 caps) and there was also a large amount of microplastic found in the samples. There were many large, recognizable pieces of plastic including: a balloon, bottle caps, a lighter, toys, a pin, and a rope. Compared to Hawaii, the individual samples of approximately 40 ml of debris and sand collected on Marrowstone Island had fewer total pieces of plastic. This could be due to the location of Marrowstone Island.
Marrowstone Island is located in the Admiralty Inlet, near the straits of Juan de Fuca that run off into the Pacific Ocean. This could explain why it might get items that had fallen off shipping boats on their way from places in Asia to the U.S. and other countries with industrial needs. There also are strong currents that lead from the Pacific into Puget Sound and flow near Marrowstone Island which causes the island to collect large amounts of trash and other rubbish from overseas on its beaches. Marrowstone Island is fairly close to other land forms which causes plastic to be trapped between these land forms. This also made it useful to have samples from neighboring beaches like Irondale Beach and the Indian Island Government Cut which both presented similar features as the samples from Marrowstone Islands. Marrowstone and Indian Island have a ‘U-shape’ which causes plastic to get trapped in the long crescent shape. The plastic fragments have resulted in many harmful effects on the ecosystem.
The harmful effects include diminished food consumptions, internal injury, loss of nutrition, starvation, intestinal blockage and death of the native animals. Plastic also has a large effect on marine life and the Puget Sound as a whole. A main cause of death in marine creatures is due to this debris. An animal will consume plastic debris because the debris will appear like fish or something other that they would eat or a normal basis. This can and most likely will kill the animals as plastic can’t be digested especially in large proportions for most animals. There are many toxins in and related to plastic that will result in diseases of the animals. Animals can also become caught in larger amounts of plastic and then will not be able to consume other foods leading to starvation. There have been many cases of animals dying from plastic ingestion (Baird, R.W., Hooker, S.K and Blight, L.K., Burger, A.E and Hirschi and Mallory).    If one species becomes extinct or endangered, other creatures that live closely with that species will be affected as well.
The amount of plastic debris in the Marrowstone samples is less than the amount of debris found in the Hawaiian islands, but it is still very noticeably negative.  Our research shows that there is a significant amount of plastic pieces and microplastic on and near Marrowstone Island.
These pieces of microplastic were found in nearly all the collection sites and they help give us an understanding of the prevalence of plastic pollution in the Puget Sound and in the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific is a highway for trade, a resource, many ecosystems, and more recently in history, a dump. At the rate at which plastic is making its way into the ocean (14 billion Pounds a year) (www.whoi.edu), it shows that we must do something before all life in the ocean is hindered by pollution. This data we were given is incredibly minute in the large scale of beaches and islands in the ocean, but it serves as a representation of what is, and what will further come to be. We must act now to stop plastic pollution before it is too late.

Our class room study was made possible by samples collected by Ron Hirschi and his dedication to making the world a better place. We want to thank our teacher, Ms. Gimelli Hemme, for helping us in the study of the plastics and sands and answering our questions. Additionally, we want to thank Ron Hirschi for sending our paper to his colleagues to review and we want to thank Goffinet McLaren, George Matsumoto, Wes Nicholson, Patricia Pierce, and Jason Schmid for taking time to review our paper and give us feedback. Finally, we want to recognize Brandon, Brooke, Camille, Cole, Deahna, Ellis, Erik, Greyson, Hal, Kaeley, Kellen, Kevin, Jackson H, Isabel M, Libbie, Maddi, Matheus, Ruby, and Sophia for their work making edits to the paper.


Baird, R.W., Hooker, S.K. 2000. Ingestion of plastic and unusual prey by a juvenile harbour porpoise. Marine Pollution Bulletin 40, 719-720.

Blight, L.K., Burger, A.E.1997. Occurence of plastic particles in seabirds from the eastern North Pacific. Marine Pollution Bulletin 35, 323-325.

Hirschi, Ron. 2012. Obstruction and starvation associated with entanglement and partial ingestion in an adult harbor seal. Unpublished Field Notes, Marrowstone Island, Washington State. 

Features Of Puget Sound Region: Oceanography And Physical Processes, Chapter 3 of the State of the Nearshore Report, King County Department of Natural Resources, Seattle, Washington, 2001.

Mallory, et al., 2006. Marine plastic debris in northern fulmars from Davis Strait, Nunavut, Canada. Marine Pollution Bulleting 52, 813-815.

McDermid, K. J., & McMullen, T. L. (2004). Quantitative analysis of small-plastic debris on beaches in the Hawaiian archipelago. Retrieved April 2012, from Science Direct: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X0300482X

Pierce, et al. 2004. Obstruction and starvation associated with plastic ingestion in a northern gannet and a greater shearwater. Marine Ornithology 32: 187-189.

Plastics in Our Oceans." Home : Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Web. 04 May 2012. .

04 May 2012

Ship Pollution and A Southern Albatross, Soaring.......

It's always amazing to me, watching seabirds fly...........and what they must fly through these days must have some affect on their abilities to survive..........See for example, the following link to an image of "trails" left behind by ships off the coast of California:


Buller's Mollyhawk. A Southern Hemisphere Albatross.
Most common near New Zealand
suffering declines in recent years due to
longline fishing.

02 May 2012

Small Worlds of Seagrass Meadows

A sampling of the small world, including juvenile pink salmon
caught in our net at the Nature Conservancy Preserve last week.

Kids from Gordon Elementary began a study here on a low tide,
seining in seagrasses where we caught ONLY juvenile fish, including
many larval and just post-larval species difficult to identify.

Our list included pink salmon, three flatfish (one with dazzling blue dots),
penpoint gunnel, diamondback gunnel, staghorm sculpin, buffalo sculpin,
snailfish spp, and some of the tiniest sand dollars you can imagine (3mm).

Nice to NOT FIND much in the way of marine debris, although those pesky Penn Cove Mussel discs were present along with small amounts of other aquaculture debris.

That is Hood Head over this young naturalist's left shoulder at the north entrance
to Hood Canal. Thanks to the Nature Conservancy and their many volunteers who keep this and other beaches so free of plastics! And, thanks to TNC for helping preserve marine life by protecting areas where we take only photos.

We will return to the beach next month, hoping to monitor changes and think
more about how to help protect local waters while thinking about the bigger problems facing the ocean.

Oh! did I mention Fred came along..........He spent much of the time swinging from branches in the Madrona woods bordering this beautiful beach.

23 April 2012

Marrowstone Island Beach Plastics. Sources and Solutions

The lighters in this photo were all collected on the northern end of Marrowstone Island, Washington State in the past several months. They are mostly intact, but show signs of breaking into smaller and smaller fragments to join the ocean's abundance of small and micro-plastics. Lighters, bottle caps, toys, and other objects are all a part of the growing problem associated with marine debris that has been shown to be in greater abundance than plankton (Moore et al., 2001). 

In an effort to understand the sources and possible solutions to marine debris on Marrowstone, I partnered with Bush School in Seattle, Washington. Students in science classes at Bush will be analyzing small plastic and sand samples collected in 2012. Samples were collected following protocols established by Corcoran et al., 2008 and McDermid and McMullen, 2003.

Our experimental approach will be more fully discussed after analysis of the first set of samples and discussions related to how we might find solutions to the marine debris stream entering the Salish Sea, especially from sources in Puget Sound where students of Bush live and attend school. Our hope is to shed more light on ways young people can do hands on science while making a difference in the ocean.

18 March 2012

A bottle, a distant war, and a Hungry Fish..........

Plastic pump spray bottle.
Found on beach along Northwest side of Marrowstone Island
17 March 2012

I've been doing a lot of sand sampling lately and came across
this piece last night. It washed ashore after several days of strong,
March storms with winds out of the west and north.

The bottle is unusual in several ways.
First, it is coated with a dense layer of Bryozoan colony, algae, and several
gooseneck barnacles. This indicates a long sea voyage. I haven't seen 
gooseneck barnacles on debris from local sources in a long time -- for example,
the many crab buoys I find.

The bottle has raised lettering, Chinese or Japanese. Will let you know
when I learn more.

Just wanted to post this in case anyone is intrested in learning more
about where possible Tsunami debris ends up.

I've placed it for now in a kind of shrine on my desk. It rests in a basket
I brought back from Morocco and tucked alongside a 
WWI emblem from my Grandpa's time in the Canadian army,
many of my favorite shells, as well as an old 'opihi gathering tool, 
a glass float from Kauai, and some parrotfish teeth.

A poem is fitting, but later on that.............imagine.........the parrotfish
dropped at my feet from high surf after I saw it bitten cleanly in two by
a huge ulua.....down at the General's Beach at Mokapu on Oahu in April of 2009.
all these pieces fit together and rest here so I can think about their connections.
The bottle, a distant War, and a hungry fish..........
I can imagine a young woman, holding this bottle in her hand an ocean away,
spritzing her hair one year ago........and then, it washed into the sea......
Just as I have wondered about the 'opihi tool..........I've always hoped it simply
slipped from the gatherer's hand out there near Anahola........

15 March 2012

As Seen by the Octopus

Marrowstone Island
Ides of March 2012

I went to the beach tonight to collect sand samples.
I'd scooped some for a project with kids in a Seattle school,
a new protocol, collecting where I first observe small plastics
to see if there is more nearby in the substrate around the found pieces.

I'd read a journal article earlier about PCBs in albatross
and found myself thinking of those birds...........mainly becasue PCBs are carried into the ocean by plastic, among other means.......As I was scooping my last sample,  I saw an eagle up ahead,
on something bigger than the usual flounder or sculpin.........The eagle was feasting on
a still living Octopus.

So, I leashed Monsoon and hurried up to see.......the Octopus was clinging to life, I am pretty
sure......even though most of its arms were gone. Its eye was so clear and when I touched it,
the body moved, elegantly as they do.....funnels opened. But so much of the body was already gone.

I've gotten to swim with these amazing creatures and have held tiny baby octopuses in my hand,
little ones stranded in tidepools clinging to me with their tiny suction discs.

But tonight, there was no saving this beautiful creature. The eagle had done far too
much damage and I can only imagine I was the last thing it ever saw in that eye.

If I remember correctly, that eye is much like our own and I do know for sure,
these creatures of the Pacific Northwest are not only the largest of their kind,
but also vastly intelligent. Playful even.

And so, I scooped up the body and shared with some kids and interested
island adults............I wish I could have saved this one.

Amazingly, in my life here on the coast, this is only the second octopus I've found stranded.
The other was just last week.........

To learn about our Pacific Giant Octopuses, visit:

Where David Sheel of Alaska Pacific University shares his many years of experience and much more!

06 March 2012

Possible Tsunami Debris on Marrowstone Island

Marine Debris. Marrowstone Island. 6 March 2012.

Crab Buoy. Rope. Mesh Clam Bags. Foam.
Blue Toy Sieve. Many small unidentifiable plastic pieces,
including one with Japanese writing............appears to be a piece of a
narrow fishing float like those I found on Midway.........but possibly a
Tsunami relic?

It is the small piece inside the sieve.

If interested, I can send a close photo or the actual object.

I hold it now, thinking of where it has been..........seems small consolation
that an albatross will not ingest it and yet, I am glad to have removed it
from the ocean.

Mana'o Akamai
The Spirit of Wisdom

04 March 2012


It's Sunday. We watched CBS Sunday Morning and a nice piece of
reporting about PLASTIC OCEAN's author and his cause.

Charles Moore will be sailing soon to offer all of us live views
of marine debris, including what is washing away from the tsunami.

Be sure to keep up with his work.

In the meantime, here is a very small sample of what I picked up from the beach
today............Yes, I was inspired to do a brief beach cleanup after listening to
the CBS report and seeing Charles at sea........

Our Plastic Beaches are filling fast with trash of many kinds, from many places.

In the photo, you can see a toy car, plastic hose of some kind, a straw, a Sunkist Orange drink cap,
a chunk of rope, a shipping strap, a hot drink lid, and a shotgun shot cup/wad.

It's easy to imagine how some of this got into the ocean.

My hope is that with more awareness of what does end up in the sea
and on our beaches, YOU ALL WILL find time to clean up a stream, pond, lake,
or beach.

I'm also sending out a complete set of  small plastic samples from Tracy McMullen's
2004 journal article study to Bush School. The sample was kindly donated to SOAR
by Tracy in hopes kids will look closely at micro-plastics and wonder:

Where did they come from?
What were these bits when they first entered the sea?
What impact do they have on sea life?
How can we safely remove micro-plastics from beaches and oceans?

See Tracy's study:

McDermid and McMullen. 2004.
Quantitative analysis of small-plastic debris on beaches
in the Hawaiian archipelago. 
Marine Pollution Bulletin 48 (2004) 790-794

I hate to add this, but our Plastic Ocean is lined with a Plastic Beach, one long
encircling strip of sand increasingly becoming painted in red, yellow, and blue.

Thanks to CBS, Charles Moore, and Tracy McMullen Page

21 February 2012

Pressure Treated Wood as Marine Debris

I've focused most of my beach cleanups on plastics, but have noticed a large increase in PRESSURE TREATED WOOD along the beaches of Marrowstone Island. And so, I sent out an all call to the National Marine Educators Association on Scuttlebutt..........


The following information from a fact sheet of the Ecology Center http://www.ecologycenter.org/ offers good explanation for its toxic qualities. High levels of arsenic are a major concern. Here is a brief section of their review:

By far the most common type of pressure treated wood is designated PT CCA (Pressure Treated Chromated Copper Arsenate). The basic elements involved are copper, chromium, and arsenic. In CCA treated wood, the chromium acts as the bactericide, copper as the fungicide, and arsenic as the insecticide. Even though all three are toxic, the chromium and copper don't raise many concerns (although maybe they should). If we don't inhale it, chromium is not particularly harmful, and copper is not very toxic to mammals, although it is to aquatic life. It's the arsenic that is worrisome. All of these compounds are stable and do not break down into other, less harmful substances in the environment.

Pressure treated wood has been in common use for about forty years and much of that is coming out of service and becoming a waste product. The companies that produce this product claim that the compounds are chemically locked to the wood itself and therefore not a hazard to human health and the environment. This statement is mostly true as far as it goes. What they don't tell us is that leaching does occur and that leaching is accelerated by acidic conditions such as is produced by acid rain or occurs during the composting process. A study by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station found an average arsenic concentration of 76 ppm under old CCA treated decks. The state limit is 10 ppm.7 In another East-coast study, soil under an 8-year old deck was found to have 7.7 times the copper concentration, 3 times the chromium concentration, and 31.4 times the arsenic concentration as samples taken at least 15 feet away. It is clear that leaching does occur, at least in areas with high levels of acid rain.

The EPA has developed the Toxic Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) to set threshold levels for the toxicity of 39 different chemicals, including chromium and arsenic. If the measured leaching from a waste product exceeds these limits it is considered a toxic waste and regulated accordingly. Arsenic-treated wood such as CCA does not have to pass this test. "Why not?" you ask. It turns out that this obviously questionable product enjoys a special exemption from the TCLP rule in 40 C.F.R. 261.4(b)(9). This is likely the result of strong lobbying pressure from the manufactures of these products.9 Because the point is legally moot, actual data is hard to come by, but results of one test obtained by EBN show that CCA-treated wood actually fails the test for arsenic and only barely passes it for chromium.10

There is evidence of leaching from PT CCA structures into the surrounding environment, but the disposal of this product is by far the more serious environmental problem. It should never, ever be burned! The chemical companies don't tell us is that these compounds, and particularly the arsenic, are released when the wood is burned. Some of these compounds are released directly into the air where the can be inhaled and some remain in the ash where they are highly leachable.

I will keep you updated as I discover more, but it appears that few studies have been conducted to determine impacts on marine life. And a lack of regulation by the EPA is troublesome to be sure.

Removing it from the ocean is important, but I think there is another alarming situation..........Beach fires are very popular along our shores. Burning treatedwood releases the toxic chemicals and the ash remains toxic as well.

Hopefully, more information is made available for campers and others who enjoy toasting marshmallows on a fire. While it is theoretically illegal to collect wood for fires on some beaches (State Parks for example),  firewood is often gathered. Sadly, milled lumber is fast becoming one of the major components of wood along our shorelines as natural sources decline due to clearing of marine riparian woodlands. Ironically, this toxic woody debris may serve some of the same valuable functions as the branches, stumps, and tree trunks once so prevalent on backshores. Will we see the day when arsenic soaked wood is protected because it is helping to protect our shores from erosion? I know from experience that a lot of creosote soaked wood remains in place along our beaches. It continues to leach toxins, but the large size of this debris makes it nearly impossible to eliminate...........A lot to think about and much work to be done!

Thanks to all who helped me with the immediate concern. I won't be asking kids to pick up any form of treated wood!

17 February 2012


Fred and Friend (Laysan Albatross from Kilauea on Kauai)
returned to the Pacific Northwest this week.

Fred has been with students in Ohio and will now
help many people focus on marine debris in the Pacific Northwest, first
with kids from Susan Barrett's North Kitsap High School Transitions class
students at many grade levels at Bush School in Seattle.

Contents of his Teaching Kit were enriched
by Debbie Charna's students. The Pacific Northwest additions
will include results of beach cleanups, study of all forms of marine
debris, including toxins from treated lumber, and the responses
NK and Bush kids add as they consider earlier SOAR projects.

for all you have done to enhance learning
here in the Pacific Northwest. It is late winter 
and our beaches are now receiving their annual high doses of marine debris
from inland waters. At the same time, erosion of many beaches is accelerating
due to poor protection of coastal riparian habitat
and a diminishing amount of large woody debris (natural wood that acts to buffer
the shoreline from wind driven waves). 

We also hear from our friends at NOAA
that marine debris from the Japanese tsunami will arrive on our shores
at any time. 

We will keep everyone posted as results of our beach cleanups and research
continue to expand.   

08 February 2012


John Klavitter, USFWS, holding an albatross, ready for banding.

I took this photo on Midway in 2009 when I first learned about Wisdom.

Since that time, I've worked on a book about her while teaching kids around
the world about albatross issues, especially dealing with plastic that kills so many of them.

I learned yesterday, that someone else has gotten a book out about Wisdom and so,
I have to rethink what I will do with all the information so many have provided and
that I've written about Wisdom, albatrosses, and ocean problems.

I'm posting this image of John to thank him for his many kindnesses as I've
worked on Project SOAR with kids.......He has helped in so many ways
and is the one person I am calling WISDOM'S KEEPER..........

One who cares so deeply and never asks for much in return, like
the kids who originally inspired what I do.........The kids of CSG and
other schools around the planet who are trying to find ways of
helping the ocean.

Maybe I will write a book called Wisdom Keepers. For John.

And, by all means, check out the new book,
Wisdom, The Midway Albatross.

I hope it is a good book and helps Wisdom in ways needed by all ocean creatures.

Mana'o Akamai

01 February 2012

Palau Sea Turtle Story Shell

honu ea photographed at Marrowstone Point. 2012.

My cousin Tom Rice introduced me to the science of the oceans when I was quite young. I collected sea shells for his Of Sea and Shore Museum. At the time of its opening, it was the largest collection in the United States and is still open in Port Gamble, Washington.

Tom recently moved to Thailand and scaled back the museum's displays. I inherited some treasures when he moved, including this Honu Ea or Hawksbill Turtle "shell"........The carapace of this beautiful sea turtle is etched with a story from Palau...........Tom brought it home from one of his many travels around the world and has since forgotten the legend or folk tale being told in the many etchings on each of the "Moons" or shields on the turtle back.

Each of these pieces of the back fit together like a puzzle and over the years, they have slipped apart a bit so that it is difficult to transport and share in my workshops about marine debris.

But as a piece falls out of the back, I can carefully hand it to a child so they can hold it to light and see the beauty of the transparent shell............No wonder people killed these creatures for the shell, turning them into sunglass frames, jewelry, and other fashion pieces..........

Ironically, the shell is a kind of pre-plastic and today, the turtles, like so many sea creatures, suffer from entanglement in nylon netting, fishing line, and other debris. Saved from harvest, they now must swim seas filling fast with plastics created to replace the more natural shell and other materials of earlier times.

I wonder if people of Palau would want this turtle returned.

If you know anything about picture stories etched into these shells, do let me know. I have also put out a question to list serves and so, will keep posting any information. In the meantime, I will bring this to all my presentations in coming years...........Kids are so inspired and enchanted on holding and touching and imagining this sea turtle's past. They seem more eager to help the turtles and the ocean on experiencing the gift from Palau!

29 January 2012

Project AWARE --- Taking More Action to Clean the Seas Beneath the Surface

For those of you who dive or know someone who does, please share the following:

Project AWARE is adding more enthusiastic ways people can get involved in cleaning the seas AND in educating others about marine debris, especially the tons of trash beneath the surface. They are moving away from those single day dives to do a cleanup. To learn more visit their site:


The Project AWARE website offers divers some tools and information kits for collecting data on marine debris and for educating people about sharks, as well as posting events in which divers can participate.

from that website:

"Project AWARE Foundation is a growing movement of scuba divers protecting the ocean planet – one dive at a time.

"Over the past two decades of underwater conservation we’ve learned that divers are true leaders in ocean protection. We’re ocean heroes numbering in the millions across the globe. We believe together our actions will make a huge impact and will help to rescue the ocean.

"With new programs and more online resources than ever before, Project AWARE supports an unprecedented global movement of divers acting in their own communities to protect oceans and implement lasting change.

"We’re focusing in on two major ocean issues –Sharks in Peril and Marine Debris, or trash in our ocean. Truly, there are many conservation issues converging on our ocean planet at once, but we’re concentrating on these serious problems where scuba divers are uniquely positioned to directly and positively affect real, long-term change in these two areas."

16 January 2012

Clean Energy Solutions Lecture by Vicki Osis..........

I am sharing this with all of you. Since I can't post a multiple page document it is all printed here.

Vicki OSIS .... and Thanks so much for your interest. You give me hope.

There is consensus among scientists that we can no longer halt climate change but can only work to slow its progress and lessen its impacts.

• Our current situation, C02 concentrations in the atmosphere are at their highest levels since 1961 when the announcement was first sent out by Charles David Keeling, who produced data showing that carbon dioxide levels were rising steadily in what became known as the "Keeling Curve".

• The US has not signed the last three IPCC protocols to reduce emissions and currently has no national policy to reduce emissions.

James Hanson, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies notes that if we replace all our coal fired electric power plants with emission free energy sources we can reduce C02 emissions enough to save us from the worst effects of climate change. (there are 600 coal plants in the US) We must act now as we have only 10 years left to try to slow C02 emissions to levels that will reduce the worst effects of climate change. (he made his statement in 2010) Hanson goes on to say “It is extremely irresponsible to make the assumption that efficiency and renewable energy sources are all that will be needed to save us from the worst of climate change and will provide the energy to run our nation.

Solution: 1. Our biggest need is a public who is aware of the risks that we are facing by not reducing out C02 emissions! We need a public that is willing to speak out and demand change. Only with a knowledgeable public can we bring pressure to bear on our governmental officials to make the transition away from coal and oil as our main energy sources.

Solution 2. We need to use every possible emission free source of energy we have and demand that funding be made available to do the research to develop the high intensity energy sources we need. Some experts say it will take an effort comparable to the effort to put a man on the moon or maybe a better comparison is the effort and dollars we put into winning the 2nd world war.

Solution 3. The public needs to know the risks and drawbacks with each energy choice and be able to make intelligent choices based on the best information that scientists can provide.

Solution 4. Switching to electric cars. Electric cars are now on the market. Since we do not shut down our electric generating plants at night, by recharging the cars at night, energy will be available to meet the recharging demand. We must develop a public who is willing to transition from a gas powered cars to electric.

The following provides information about the energy choices we currently have and the pluses and drawbacks of each.

Comparison of the generating capacity of green energy compared to nuclear energy.

Power generated by a power station is measured in multiples of watts, megawatts (10 to 6th watts or gigawatts (10 to 9th)

• Wind farms: A large wind farm with 44 turbines produces 101 megawatts

• Solar Power : One of the largest solar powered plants in the world in the Mojave Desert of California produces 354 megawatts.

• Gas Powered- Medway Power station in Kent , UK makes 700 megawatts. (gas plants release half the amount of C02 that coal plants emits)

• Hydroelectric - Aswan Dam in Egypt has a capacity of 2.1 gigawatts.

Wind Farm largest is in Oregon (to be completed 2012) 889 megawatts (has 300 wind towers.)

• Nuclear : Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant 802 megawatts

Wind and Solar do not have the energy intensity to meet our energy demands. Solar units for homes in cloudy northern states currently only produce about 1/3 of an average home’s energy needs. (source solar energy agent) Promises of more efficiency and cheaper units are still being developed but have yet to be brought to market.

We have 104 aging nuclear plants built in the 1950’s that need replacing and we have no energy policy to dictate what energy source to replace them. These conventional Nuclear plants only burn 1% of energy in the fuel rods; the remainder is left in the fuel rods leaving them with high levels of radioactive toxicity. These "spent" rods must safely be stored for 10,000 years until that toxicity has depleted. *The spent rods are currently stored on site in pools in the existing plants. On-site storage of spent fuel in dry casks has become increasingly popular among licensees needing additional capacity for storing spent fuel. Fuel that has been stored for at least five years in water has cooled sufficiently, and its radioactivity decreased enough, for it to be removed from the spent fuel pool and loaded into casks for dry storage. This frees up additional space in the pool for storing spent fuel newly removed from the reactor. (source US Nuclear Regulatory Agency)* the spent fuel rods stored in the Fukushima plants in Japan was one reason their melt down was so horrific.

What are our options for emission free energy sources.

Bloom Boxes Fuel Cells http://tinyurl.com/82bst5h

These are fuel cells that use natural gas as fuel, but do not burn the fuel therefore less emissions. (see problems with mining for natural gas) Bloom boxes are on the market and being used by companies such as Google.

Nuclear produces electricity with no C02 emissions.

Arguments in favor of nuclear power (from Hanson Book. Storms of my Grandchildren.).

•Fast Breeder Reactors (FBR) , the new improved ones, called "Third Generation" do not depend on mining more uranium.

• FBRs use spent fuel from old conventional nuclear reactors, and nuclear wastes from nuclear weapons production. That spent fuel is toxic for 10,000 years and no permanent storage site has yet been found.

• Conventional reactors only burn 1% of energy in the fuel rods; the remainder is left in the fuel rods which is the reason for their radioactive toxicity.

• FBRs burn 99% of the remaining fuel rod’s energy. They multiply the fuel as well as produce electricity. Hanson estimates we have 1000 years of energy using the FBR technology.

• The spent fuel rods from the Fast Breeder Reactors is toxic for only 2 centuries during which they decay and becomes non toxic. A great improvement over 10,000 years.

• The technology is available and they can be built now.

These are large powerplants that will take years to site and build.

Small scale nuclear reactors. All the nuclear accidents, Fukushima Daiichi complex, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl all occurred because of pump failure. Pumps are needed to provide a constant supply of cooling water for the nuclear reactors. If the cool water supply is halted the nuclear core over heats and melt down occurs.

Nuclear has the energy intensity to meet our needs, but the fear aroused by the Fukushima has resulted in Japan shutting their nuclear plants and now are bringing back on line their oil and coal fired plants. Germany has also started to shut down its nuclear plants and replace it with coal.

In the US small modular nuclear reactors are under development and soon may be available including NuScale. NuScale does not use pumps but rather convection currents for cooling the core reactor. NuScale offers small separate modules and many modules can be added to a site. They can be installed on coal plant power sites and hook into the existing grid. These are expected to be ready for installation soon. http://www.nuscalepower.com/ot-Scalable-Nuclear-Power-Technology.php

The other small-scale nuclear reactor currently under development is Terra power. (ready maybe by 2030). These units use waste uranium (spent rods) for electricity production and also do not use pumps for cooling. Bill Gates is investing in this research and development. See Gates Ted Talks Terrapower. They researching ways to burn more of the energy left in the radioactive wastes. Reduce the time the rod must be stored and supply us with emission free energy that we need. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaF-fq2Zn7I and http://tinyurl.com/2b5nzd5

Examples of small nuclear reactors.

NuScale- http://www.nuscalepower.com/ot-Facts-NuScale-System-Technology.php

TerraPower http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/24/bill_gates_and_terrapower/

Toshiba Mini nuclear reactors


Hyperion mini nuclear plants.


All our energy choices come with issues. Wind and solar are emission free but are not energy intensive, Natural gas releases half the C02 of a Coal plant but mining for natural gas involves fracking. “fracking” (pumping water and chemicals under high pressure into shale to release gas from rock strata). This has contaminated ground water supplies in many states. In Arkansas, spring 2011, fracking, released uranium present in the rocks, contaminating ground water with radioactivity. Lousiana and in other states fracking liquids have contaminated ground water supplies ruining fresh water supplies for towns, cities and wells for household use.

(New York Times Feb 2011 from EPA study)

As for reducing our dependency on oil, electric cars are now on the market. Since we do not shut down our electric plants at night, by recharging the cars at night, the reduced demand in energy would meet the recharging demand.

13 January 2012

More From Vicki Osis......Climate Change Links and Lecture Notes

These two URLS will lead you to information provided by Vicki at Scuttlebutt today..........Vicki is passionate about the need for people in all walks to learn and then talk the talk of climate change to others. Her lectures at Oregon State University are also available, but please think about how valuable these are and send Vicki something, even though she asks for nothing in return.........I will check on her interests in, say, Chocolate? At least return mail envelope................THANK YOU VICKI, for the oceans and for future generations! 

1. A compilation of teaching websites to teach climate change issues. It includes comprehensive websites
as well as teaching activities that address specific issues of climate change such as impacts on coral reef, forests etc.

I am sure there are other good sites out there but these are the results of days of searching the web.


2. The other URL will take you to a discussion of the recent numbers of extreme weather events and how these are tied to the drivers of global weather such as the Arctic Oscillation and El Nino and La Nina which have also reached record levels of strength.


NOTE both of the above are PDF files. On my computer it does not open but will download them into my downloads files.

And finally I have the online course I taught for Oregon State University on a disk. It contains 20 "lectures" on different aspects of climate change from impacts on coral reef, forests etc. Each lectures has links to teaching materials on each topic. The list above is a compilation of that. If you would like a copy of the disk please send me your mailing address. vjosis@yahoo.com and I will get them into the mail, but it will be early February before I can get to it. There is no charge for the disk, its not worth my time to try to bill you for postage.

Thanks for your patience with my posts. My concern about teaching climate change sometimes brims over.

Vicki Osis

Again, Thank you Vicki for your work and for sharing with others!

11 January 2012

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION.......Some sources and People Who Care Deeply

Here are some recent conversations and posts from Scuttlebutt, National Marine Educators Association list............follow links to good educational materials and awareness building stuff for any talk or classroom discussion. This issue is so very critical as we attempt to bring global climate change and ocean conditions back to a healthier state of being. Read and view:


Please go to, and download or read Elizabeth Kolbert's article from the November 2006 New Yorker Magazine. From that please show the YouTube video
"The Acid Test". 21 minutes. And PLEASE see and show this film to your

adults/everyone: "A Sea Change" a film by Barbara Ettingger


Elizabeth Kolbert, Annals of Science, "The Darkening Sea," The New Yorker,

November 20, 2006, p. 66

Read more


We are inundated with references to Ocean Acidification. I believe it is
exceptionally well understood and still does not get anyone excited. As

Pogo said "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Find some way to act. There are now lots of labs that demonstrate the process. Some are simplechemistry and others more involved.

Steve Bartram
Oceanography and Biotechnology Teacher

It probably should be noted that the intertidal does see large swings in pH daily - This is a nice (perhaps I'm biased though) article on intertidal pH and the overall issue of ocean acidification along with some links at the bottom of the article. The science can be a little confusing - there are researchers who have found increased calcification with lower pH in some organisms. This is not to detract from the importance of the issue - just to point out that, like most science, the data is still being gathered and analyzed.


Dr. George I. Matsumoto
Senior Education and Research Specialist
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
7700 Sandholdt Road
Moss Landing, California 95039


Here is ocean acidification as explained by Vicki (Osis), I am quoting her here:

Ocean acidification is a drop in pH on that scale. Scientists report there has been a decrease of pH in all ocean waters from 8.25 to 8.14 since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. That change represents an increase of 30% in the hydrogen ion concentration. This is the biggest change to ocean pH in the last 20 million years. Like the magnitude scale of earthquakes, one unit on the pH scale reflects a change of a factor of 10. The 0.1 pH change means there are now 30 percent more hydrogen ions in the water.

Scientists also warn that unless we quickly reduce our C02 emissions the acidification will continue and we will experience an increase of .3 - .4 points on the pH scale. That would mean a 90-120%, other sources predict an increase of up to 140% increase. Without action to reduce C02 scientists warn that we can create an acid spike more intense than the earth has seen in the past 8,000,000 years. The change we are currently experiencing is happening too quickly and too intensely for ocean animals to adapt.

Source: Real Climate

Although ocean pH has not dropped into the acidic side of the pH scale, the change has been enough to disrupt shell formation in sea creatures as the carbonic acid chemically changes calcium carbonate to the point that shelled organisms can no longer utilize it. This is a threat to tiny, fragile-shelled zooplankters, as well as the microscopic larvae of shelled creatures including clams, mussels, crabs and oysters. The second problem is the acid may become 6 eventually become strong enough it will dissolve the shells of adult animals and become a threat to corals, as well as a many other economically important animals.

On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 1:25 PM, Vicki Osis wrote:

Find a teaching activity for teaching ocean acidification here


Teaching Ocean Acidification.

Ocean acidification is defined as the drop in pH that occurs due to the absorption of carbon dioxide by ocean waters, C02 +H20 creates carbonic acid. The change in ocean pH we have already experienced is the biggest change to oceans in the past 20 million years and the change is happening so quickly marine organisms cannot adapt. The information from the teaching activity can be adapted for grades 5-12. Grades 5 -6 provides an introduction to plankton and its role in ocean food chains. Grades 8-12 can explore plankton and its role in food chains, plus learn about the problems ocean acidification is causing. Also included is a pH testing activity and a list of various student friendly energy conservation measures to reduce C02 emissions. The last piece is step-by-step outline of the chemistry of acidification that could be used with high school students.
If it does not open and I have that problem with my Mac computer....go to

 the Ă…,downloadsĂ‹ file and search for TeachAcidification.

It is a 7 page document.

Vicki Osis Retired Marine Education Specialist OSU Hatfield Center.

Rob Moir
Ocean River Institute http://www.oceanriver.org/
12 Eliot Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Twitter OceanRiverRob
7 min Video: Rob on Winter Island Salem Sound with Ducks Saving the Ocean
and calling for a vacation from lawn care during the rainy season when green slime algae s hungriest.

Moir's Environmental Dialogs, Ocean River Shields of Achilles Internet Talk Radio


Episodes listing and descriptions (free on iTunes):


ORI all together now, sing along

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.