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.

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 Å,downloadsË 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

No comments:

X310 Plastic Ocean Activity

It's me, Fred, the Monkey.

If you look closely, you can see I wear X310's leg band around my neck. It's to remind me of her. She was a Laysan Albatross. She was born in March 2008 and lived on Pihemanu, one of the most remote atolls on earth, now part of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

You can wonder about Pihemanu and about X310. She didn't live very long, dying in June 2008. Her parents flew thousands and thousands of miles finding food for her. But x310, like lots of baby albatrosses died before she got to soar the seas. Some albatrosses fly three million miles during their life. Like X310's parents, their sea is a new challenge in food finding because of our actions on land.

Adult albatrosses fly more than a thousand miles just to get a single meal for their babies. But the ocean is full of plastic. And if you read my buddy, Ron's blog and website, you learn about plastic in the sea. It is everywhere and babies like X310 die because they eat so much plastic, they can not get it out of their stomachs.

Where's all this plastic come from?
Where does it go?

Here is a simple activity:

Get up from your chair and walk around the classroom or wherever you are sitting.

Write down each thing around you that is made of plastic.

Everybody compare lists and make a total of the plastic products.

Now, the hard part of this activity:

Can you find alternatives for the things you use, alternatives not made of plastic?
Maybe start with drinking water from a fountain or glass or reuseable container?
Maybe start a really good recycling project?
Maybe make some art from recycled plastic?
Learn more on links here on this site and others.
Talk about times with no plastic.
X310 would have appreciated if people, just a few years ago had decided to make a plastic-free world for you....
You and X310.

Learn how you can SOAR with FRED by arranging a visit with Fred and his ocean teaching kit by emailing his banana provider at whalemail@waypoint.com


What you need:

Pint size plastic beverage container with wide mouth (about 1.5 inches) ---This approximates the size of a baby albatross stomach and esophagus.

Important to have the lid too.

Enough plastic items (bottle caps, toothbrush, legos, fishing line, small chunks of nylon rope, markers, pens, more bottle caps and even a few more bottle caps since they are pretty much the most common marine debris.

Talk with your audience of kids of any age about ocean debris and the way adult albatrosses fly out a few hundred or even a thousand miles to find flying fish eggs and squid for the little ones. They return to Pihe Manu or up on the Northeast shore of Kauai, find their young one among thousands of others and begin to feed by regurgitating "food".......

As you talk about this, have the kids place one or two pieces of the plastic into the bottle.

Replace cap with each addition of plastic. Shake gently to mimic bird moving around the nesting area a bit.

Remove cap. Shake gently to mimic the bird trying to dislodge "food" that can not be digested. In a perfect ocean, this would be squid beaks, fish bones, or other natural pieces of food.

Add more plastic, repeating above until no plastic falls out of the bottle when cap is removed (bill is opened) and the bird tries and tries, but can not toss up the mass of debris. See how much and how many different kinds of plastic can be added. Does the rope tangle with the legos and bottle caps. Do five bottle caps cause a blockage in the esophagus???

In nature, the upchucked mass is like an owl pellet and is known as a bolus. Natural foods slip freely through the esophagus and more feeding can continue. Most times, a baby albatross will toss up one bolus before leaving the nesting island. Unfortunately, thousands die because plastic blocks the stomach completely.

Your feeding the baby albatross activity can lead to a lot of discussion of plastics we use, discard, then find their way into the ocean and into the mouth of a baby albatross.

If you want to have a Baby Albatross Feeding Kit, complete with some plastic items that actually came from once living albatross at Pihe Manu, Papahanaumokuakea, be in touch.