The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Today I got to spend some time with the girls of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: Can We Create Something to Help Dory Find Her Way Home. Their job is to not only think about the issue of the Garbage Patch, but to design and prototype a machine that could potentially clean it up. I got to speak with girls of all ages who are taking this challenge head on. With access to any material they could imagine, and any power tool they want, their creativity was clearly running wild. I was impressed with the level of though that went into each and every piece of their machines. img_0213

This is Sam, Class IV, and she created a model of a machine that would use currents to force trash into a certain area. She designed a tube to suck up the trash, bring it to an airplane, and melt the plastic to use as fuel for the airplane.

Each piece is thought out and serves a very specific purpose. I am excited to see what else she creates this week!

Marley and Maddy, Class III, and Ava and Meredith, Class III and II, show off their designs .

A Trip to Buzzards Bay

Yesterday, I went on an all-day field trip with four other studios to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay. The studios that attended were the two Great Pacific Garbage Patch groups as well as the two Waste in Wildlife groups, as they all focus on the effects of waste in our oceans. The studios learned about the rehabilitation and release of cetaceans, pinnipeds, and sea turtles.


The executive director Kathy Zagzebski started with a presentation about seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. It focused on the different types of marine animals we see around Cape Cod and the reasons why they get stranded on land. Kathy said that the mission of the National Marine Life Center is to rescue and rehabilitate these animals while researching them and educating others about them.

Once the presentation was over, the four studios split up to cycle between four activities. The activities ranged from the causes of injured and stranded animals to the process of how they are rehabilitated. One activity was about oil spills and how they can affect marine life, while another focused on pollution and its potential to cause harm to marine life. A different activity had the students measure and name stuffed turtles and seals as if they were entering the NMLC for rehabilitation. My favorite activity, however, was the dolphin rescue simulation. The students watched Kathy demonstrate how to lift a dolphin so it could be carried to either a care center or the ocean. After a run-through with a stuffed animal, Kathy played the part of the dolphin and the students lifted her up with the mat as if they were rescuing her. It was an interesting and informative demonstration, and all of the studios enjoyed it.

This field trip was an informative and eye-opening experience, both for the studios and for me. Learning about waste and its powerful effect on marine life can be startling, but having the chance to see the direct impact on animals makes it that much more real. The National Marine Life Center gave insight to the rehabilitation process of marine animals, showing the studios how our waste can cause serious problems.