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Marine Debris Program Speaks to 150 Fifth Graders in McLean, Virginia

FEBRUARY 10, 2020 — On Jan. 30, Communication and Education Specialist, Jennifer Simms, presented to the entire fifth grade of Spring Hill Elementary.

Woman lecturing to a class.
Communications and Education Specialist, Jennifer Simms, kicked off her presentation by asking students to define “marine debris. Image credit: Daniel Segal, Spring Hill Elementary School.

All 150 students and six teachers sat snuggly on the floor as they participated in an interactive presentation covering the topic of marine debris, an overview of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, and ended with a spirited discussion on “how to help” as they thought of ways they could refuse unnecessary single-use plastic in their school lunch.

Students asked questions throughout the presentation, ranging from some curious questions such as “What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever found on the beach?” to “Have you ever found money or gold?” Some students inquired about microbeads in face soap, wondered why their school will only let them recycle plastic bottles, and asked how to stay safe while conducting a school wide cleanup.

Fifth grade teacher and organizer, Daniel Segal, was happy to have someone visit from NOAA and spend time answering student questions. He followed up by email at the end of the day to say that during recess, several students began picking up trash without being asked! He feels that having a connection with a professional, and not a teacher that students see every day, has clearly made a positive impact on his students and put them one step closer in winning the fight against marine debris.

Students will use information learned from this presentation in a classroom report on marine debris.

For more information, contact Jennifer.Simms@noaa.gov.

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Last updated Friday, February 14, 2020 12:46pm PST