Educator Spotlight: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Blade Shepherd-Jones led students through a hands-on study of the hazards of marine debris. Students explored the effects of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on the marine animals native to the Hawaiian islands and their beachfront community. Their study culminated in student-led nature clean-ups, after which students made sculptures from debris depicting animals affected by marine pollution. Continue reading Educator Spotlight: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Wait a Minute—Don’t Clean the Garbage Patch?

ENVIRONMENT Placing plastic collectors near coasts would remove 31% of microplastics, versus 1% if they were all in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Guardian) What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Use our resources to find out. Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit. Discussion Ideas Startling new analysis reveals that cleaning up plastics near the coast would … Continue reading Wait a Minute—Don’t Clean the Garbage Patch?

Why Children Need To Care About the Ocean

This blog is written by outdoors family blogger Laure Latham, as a part of the Geography Awareness blog-a-thon.  When I started thinking about GeoWeek’s blog-a-thon, I considered the meaning of geography. In simple words, geography is the science of places and the relationships between people and their environments. It’s the land, the water, the people and everything else around. Based on that definition, I needed to know why geography … Continue reading Why Children Need To Care About the Ocean

March 2009 Newsletter

Read the March 2009 Newsletter: “Dive into the Oceans”

Inside: A Huge “THANK YOU” to All Who Wrote Congress
GeoFeature: A Whale of a Time
Geography in the News: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Blog: National Geographic’s Greatest Ocean Adventurers

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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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Plastics that originate on land oftentimes end up at sea

Did you know that there is a pile of garbage about the size of Texas floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Yea… I didn’t until recently. However, if you just booted up Google Earth and are trying to find it, you won’t. The reason for this lies mainly in the description: many online articles describe this phenomena as a “floating island” of garbage, others claim that it is at least “twice the size of Texas.” While these descriptors aren’t flat-out deceptive, they present a visual that is not entirely accurate. First off, the mass of garbage, which is primarily comprised of plastic, is not floating in the sense that a boat does: instead, it is suspended in the ocean much like those little exfoliating beads in bottles of boutique hand soap. This means that the garbage extends from the surface of the water all the way down to the bottom… as a suspension of plastic and other nasty things. Second, because of its three dimensional nature and the fact that it is constantly shifting location, it is difficult to ascertain how large it actually is.


A sea turtle cavorts in the open sea… along side a few plastic shopping bags

Continue reading “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”