Yeah, neither do I.
"Rubber Ducky...You're the One!"
So January 10th, 1992 the Plastic Rubber Ducky fleet set sail. At the time, and given the circumstances, scientists took advantage of the opportunity to follow these yellow fellows to monitor the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. Sightings started in Alaska in November 1992. The beaches of Washington, Alaska, and Canada were among the first to catch these visitors, but later others traveled through the Bering Sea and up to the Arctic Ocean, while others went as far south as Australia and South America. Members of the fleet were still occasionally popping up even in 2003!
"Imagine a handful of degraded plastic confetti spread across a football field of the ocean surface. That’s as thick as it gets, but it’s everywhere. It’s a thick plastic soup over 2/3rds of the earth’s surface. So far the 5 Gyres Institute has traveled to 4 of the 5 subtropical gyres in the world, conducting over 400 surface trawls, with plastic in every one. That is the menace of plastic pollution. It’s everywhere, thinly distributed, and extremely impractical to clean up at sea."
- Click the title above or go to http://beachcombersalert.org/ to find out the facts from the original source: Curtis C. Ebbesmeyer
- Go to www.seabean.com, click on "Other Things That Float" then click "Plastic Duckies" for a wealth of links to learn more.
- Read the book Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion (Scientists in the Field Series) by Loree Griffin Burns. There are great pictures and amazing details that upper elementary students could read for themselves. (Great teacher resources for this book are at the author's site: http://www.loreeburns.com/teachers)
- For littler youngsters, share Eric Carle's book 10 Little Rubber Ducks which was inspired by these overboard yellow fellows and the encounters they have.
- Research some of the sightings of these famous floaters, and have students put their mapping skills to work studying latitude and longitude. What can your young scientists learn from this scientific study of currents.
- Use it as a springboard to discuss the importance of making sure that plastic trash doesn't end up in our waterways to begin with!!