Hidden River Middle School
“The ocean is the great regulator on our planet. The lakes and rivers are like the the veins and arteries of our planet, and the ocean is our heart,” Annie explained to the Hidden River Middle School students. “I say breathe, you say ocean. Breathe. Ocean. Breathe. Ocean." the students chanted. Annie continued, "The ocean gives our planet 50-70% of the oxygen our planet needs, holds 98% of our water, feeds the world, gives us entertainment, recreation, science, and so much more. In order for people to be healthy, our ocean needs to be healthy.”
The Hidden River Middle School seventh graders, our sixth school on the Our Ocean & YOU campaign, blew us out of the water with their ideas and solutions to the wicked problems facing our ocean! Annie gave a presentation full of amazing ocean creatures encouraging kids to explore the real ocean, and ended discussing the SEAPLEX expedition out to the North Pacific Gyre and the looming problems our planet faces as our ocean has become plastic soup. We were lucky to get some extra time after the presentation with these creative students and they wanted to know more. We challenged them to come up with ideas for refusing single use plastic in their lives and at school #RefuseSUP. The students joined in groups to brainstorms different ways they could create change around plastic and to share what they learned with their friends and family.
When the kids learned 500 million straws are being used daily in the US, they committed to skipping the straw. Jacob declared he was going to rid his life of all plastic. I talked with him in a break out session and discussed that this might simply not be possible because plastic is in every part of our life. Yet the first step is realizing just how much plastic is in our lives and rethinking our relationship with it. Cecily shared that she was going to cut back on the amount of fast food she ate because of the packaging. She realized that fast food companies use a lot of single use plastic. How can you avoid single use plastic? Join Cecily and take the personal pledge and commit to #RefuseSUP.
Gage decided he wasn’t going to eat chips packaged in single serving bags anymore. What a great idea! Individually wrapped food items might seem convenient, but in the long term, this is not convenient for our one world ocean. Can you refuse single use plastic chip bags? Buy in bulk or make your own homemade chips! Not only is it healthier for our ocean, it also saves you money.
Jade told us she was no longer going to use the Styrofoam lunch trays in the school cafeteria. When the students go to get lunch, each student can choose between a reusable tray or a Styrofoam tray. Jade pledged that she would only use the reusable trays and encourage her school to get rid of them altogether. Other students joined Jade, and also vowed to only use the reusable trays!
Lily, a camper we knew from Beach Camp at Sunset Bay, alarmed yet inspired by the presentation couldn’t believe the plastic pollution plastic is causing. She decided she wanted to work with her friends and get vending machines that use single use plastic packaging out of Hidden River Elementary.
After the presentation and brain storming session, the students ran to Annie for selfies and more questions. The girls were so inspired and all wanted to get a selfie with the queen mermaid herself!
The students of Hidden River Middle School were phenomenal. We believe the next inventor of a plastic alternative was in the room this morning. Find more ways to RefuseSUP and share your stories with us using #LoveOurOcean
Annie gifted the library an entire set of her products. Special thanks to our sponsors for making this campaign possible Beach Camp at Sunset Bay, Samuelson Communications, Studio Fun International, Millbrook Press, Dive Into Your Imagination, Ocean Annie, Underwater Sports, Boxlight, and Light & Motion.