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Plastic Pollution Solutions teaches students about the environmental issue of plastics in the ocean

By Staff | Oct 4, 2018

Pacific Whale Foundation has been spreading awareness of the global problem of plastics in the ocean.

MAALAEA – Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) was awarded a new grant through the County of Maui Environmental Protection & Sustainability Division to offer a Plastic Pollution Solutions program to all middle and high school students in Maui County.

The program includes a screening of the 22-minute film “A Plastic Ocean” as well as curriculum and activities appropriate for varying subject areas.

The goal is to familiarize students with the environmental issue of plastics in the ocean and introduce them to real solutions.

“As the future decision makers and consumers of our world, these students are a critical part of the outcome,” said PWF Marketing & Development Director Kelly McHugh.

The Plastic Pollution Solutions program is run by Pacific Whale Foundation Education Manager Robyn Ehrlich, a state certified educator with ten years of teaching experience.

Ehrlich said, “It is our hope to reach all middle and high school students in Maui County with this program, and that our message leaves a lasting impression in them, such that they will make positive changes to become stewards of the ocean.”

Ehrlich runs the nonprofit organization’s keiki offerings: Ocean Camp, featuring hands-on science activities and daily field trips for children in grades 1-5, and Keiki Whalewatch, a boat- and classroom-based program offered during the months of January through April for students in pre-kindergarten to grade 12.

Both programs share a common goal: to introduce students to the marine environment through engaging activities and field experiences to inspire them to care about and protect the ocean.

“There is a growing global awareness of the enormity of the plastic proliferation in our oceans,” said Maui County Environmental Coordinator Rob Parsons.

“We are grateful to partner with PWF to highlight the critical impacts of plastic on our marine ecosystem and to highlight potential solutions.”

Maui County intermediate and high school teachers interested in welcoming Pacific Whale Foundation’s Plastic Pollution Solutions program may choose from three curriculum delivery options: a school assembly to share and discuss the 22-minute film (better suited for large groups), a classroom presentation and customized workshop (better suited for smaller groups), or a “leave behind” for teachers that prefer to present the program in another way.

For details and scheduling information, contact Ehrlich at (808) 856-8341 or robynehrlich@pacificwhale.org.