Ocean plastic pollution: under the magnifying glass in Chile

Workshops held for science teachers and students in Valdivia by LAMI Youth Crew members

Professors and teachers had the opportunity to be part of the Workshop “Microplásticos: the oceanic trip of garbage”, in the Coastal Laboratory of Aquatic Resources Calfuco just outside of Valdivia, Chile.

The workshops were led by Mark Friedman, science teacher at the LA Maritime Institute, former science teacher at the Animo High School in Los Angeles California and mentor of the Marine Biology Club of the same school and two Animo students This training, which ended on Friday, May 11, was the end of a cycle of activities related to the care of the oceans and their environmental protection.

The PAR Explora of CONICYT Los Ríos, joined this final initiative aimed at teachers in the area of science, with the aim of providing methodological tools to stimulate students in scientific research. In addition to motivating them to care for the environment, especially that of the oceans and the entire ecosystem that it comprises.

All this was possible thanks to a scholarship given by the United States Embassy to the Faculty of Sciences of the Austral University of Chile, who with it managed to invite the Los Angeles residents to teach students and teachers about the consequences of throwing plastic waste at schools and home that end up in the ocean. Coordinating this effort in Chile were Carla Christie and Paula Marin.

The workshops were also guided by the students, members of the Marine Biology Club of Animo High School, Briceida Montes and Melissa Zepeda, who mentioned the great experience he has lived these days and how surprised he is to see the interest of schoolchildren and teachers to participate in the activities. “Many of them were amazed to see that the plastic was a problem in the world, and the teachers showed a lot of interest in us, they were very focused, they were like students and that is not seen much in the teachers”.

Carolina Rodríguez, the environmental education educator in schools from North Patagonia to Southern South, pointed out how interesting it is to be able to apply practical activities with students to guide them to discover the effects of human beings in the oceans, “I think it is very important to teach schoolchildren how to identify the different types of plastics and fight them. In addition to learning the methodologies, it is essential to see how to prevent the entry of this material into the ecosystem. It is important to see the ecology in another way, not only in a way that the human being uses it and how it affects us but also to value it for itself and see that the other organisms that live on the planet have the right to live in a healthy and free environment. of our trash.”

The educational activities began on Monday, May 7 to elementary and middle school students of various educational establishments. in the Valdivia region, teaching on microplastic pollution and their research, with the aim of galvanizing new recycling programs and greater consciousness of the plastic impact on marine organisms and humans thru ingestion of marine shellfish and fish.

The emphasis in these workshops was to complement the learning objectives of subjects such as Natural Sciences, History and Geography, Mathematics, Language and Communication and Visual Arts, which point to the critical and reflective thinking of scientific research. Teachers and students physically examined local beach sand with plastic particles and dissected boluses (stomach contents) of Albatross chicks who died from plastic consumption. (see photos below)

Support for this educational effort also came from the US with a grant from LA Supervisor Janice Hahn and materials supplied for the workshops from Algalita, Ocean Conservancy, 5Gyres, LA Maritime Institute, HHMI Medical Institute Winged Ambassadors and City2Sea. Photos and article by Mark Friedman.

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