Plastic is both beneficial and disastrous because of its near-indestructible nature. In fact, every piece of plastic ever created is still on Earth today. While plastic is a recyclable material, only 9% has actually been recycled and it can only be recycled a limited number of times, plus we continue to make more and more. It is even predicted that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by the year 2050! We hope that education, like our Plastic Pollution Solutions program, can spark a change that will alter this prediction for the better. 

The Plastic Pollution Solutions program was designed as a collaboration between Pacific Whale Foundation, County of Maui Environmental Protection & Sustainability Division, and Plastic Ocean Foundation. The program includes a screening of the condensed version of the film, A Plastic Ocean, along with classroom workshops, discussions, and/or a leave-behind curriculum. The film and curriculum provide students with opportunities to gain an understanding of the plastic pollution problem while also being inspired to take action in being part of the solution. The film is just the right length for students and truly engages them. Our Education Manager, Robyn Ehrlich, remarks that she has never had a bored or inattentive group of students during the film.  

As part of our classroom workshops and discussions, we collected pre- and post-survey data to attempt to measure the program’s impact. The results have been outstanding, showing an increase in both the understanding of the issue and in student initiative to do more in their daily lives to minimize marine debris.

Our Education department recently brought the program to the Maui Humane Society’s summer camp program, which encourages campers to consider the many different ways in which we share the world with other living things, with the goal of inspiring respect and appreciation for all life and encouraging conscientious decision making. Their Education & Outreach Coordinator, Terry Olive, loved the Plastic Pollution Solutions Program and had this to say:

What a great presentation and activity. I really appreciate the time you took out of your day to speak to the students. They were really engaged and I would hope I could count on you in the future to be a speaker again. Suffice it to say…the movie and the talk was a favorite of mine!


So far, we have been able to reach over 2,000 local students and we are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded a grant from the Atherton Family Foundation to help continue this program for another year, for all ages.

If you are interested in bringing this rewarding program to your school or other learning environment, contact our Education Manager Robyn Ehrlich at (808) 856-8341

Posted by:Alicia Wood

Alicia joined Pacific Whale Foundation in 2018 as communications coordinator, after graduating from the University of Hawaii Maui College with a degree in Sustainable Science Management.

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