Washington Middle School
Washington Middle School 6th Graders breathe ocean. Today marked the first day of the Our Ocean & YOU Campaign, launched at Washington Middle School in Seattle reaching more than 400 students about the interdependence we have with the ocean and the harms single use plastic causes to our environment. From the moment we entered the library we knew we were going to have an amazing day, "How inappropriate to call this planet earth, when it is quite clearly planet ocean." the quote from Arthur C. Clarke greeted us!
Annie believes in the power of imagination encouraging students to make their dreams happen through hard work and education. "Our ocean is being faced by wicked problems, and we need wicked solutions! We need you to dream big and think of ways we can all make a difference," Annie encourages students to dream big. She shared a bit about her past, growing up in Chicago and not seeing the ocean until after college, as she helps students believe anything is possible. Now an award winning underwater photographer/filmmaker, world traveler, speaker, and author, Annie never would have imagined her life as it is today. It all started with a map in her grandma’s kitchen when she was 10 years old, and now the entire ocean is her backyard.
The 6th graders experienced a multi-media extravaganza of our ocean including whale sharks, manta rays, jellies, harbor seals, and more. They discovered pink pygmy seahorses, bobbit worms, and disco clams. Annie encouraged students to love our ocean #LoveOurOcean because every breath we take connects us to the sea, "Breathe in. Breathe out. You are breathing ocean...Our ocean gives us oxygen, water, food, transportation, recreation, and so much more!" Annie busted myths and monsters of the sea, discussed the misrepresentation of sharks in the media and shared the real ocean creatures. Students were shocked to hear the biggest monster in the sea was not sharks, but plastic caused by people.
The students looked at pictures of plastic in nets from Annie’s time aboard the SEAPLEX expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. They discovered that plastic lasts 500-1000 years, meaning all plastic ever created is still on our planet in one form or another. Plastic often ends up in the ocean, where turtles and other animals cant tell the difference between their food and this toxic plastic. Plastic is a petroleum product, plastic is made from oil.
We need to rethink our relationship with plastic, refuse single use plastic #RefuseSUP, and raise our voices sharing what we learn. The students are going to work together on a project they can all get behind on what they can all get behind to support our ocean. We are looking forward to working with the students from Washington Middle School
Thanks to the science teachers, including extraordinary Jim Vigil and librarian Elaine Harger who coordinated our visit.
Special thanks to our sponsors Beach Camp at Sunset Bay, Samuelson Communications, Studio Fun International, Millbrook Press, Dive Into Your Imagination, Ocean Annie, Underwater Sports, Boxlight, and Light & Motion.