Talking Trash and Taking Action on Marine Debris

Talking Trash and Taking Action.
Ocean Conservancy and the NOAA Marine Debris Program instilled an environmental ethic in both youth and corporate employees in an effort to end marine debris.

Project Dates: August 2013 - July 2014

What’s the project?
Talking Trash and Taking Action focuses on two unique and influential groups: corporations and the next generation of environmental stewards. Ocean Conservancy created a three-phase program that introduces participants to marine debris and the damage it causes the ocean: First, corporate and youth leaders survey participants to measure their marine debris awareness and behaviors before “talking trash.” The leaders are equipped with marine debris information containing actions individuals can take to prevent marine debris – activity books for the youth and presentations for the corporate employees – which can be coupled with a cleanup and citizen science experience. After the experiential learning activities are over, the participants are again issued a survey to see how their marine debris awareness and behaviors have changed. Ocean Conservancy piloted the program at a tall ships event with 35 educators from maritime schools and museums. They also piloted the program with Bank of America, an International Coastal Cleanup sponsor.

What does it accomplish?
This project created an educational toolkit that can be tailored to many different audiences and used by all sectors, including non-profits. Talking Trash and Taking Action is more than classroom education – it provides a hands-on opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to help reduce ocean trash. It is a tool to educate, inspire, and engage our target audiences to change how they dispose of every day consumer items that end up as debris.

Who’s involved?
This successful effort, organized by Ocean Conservancy, enlisted help from many regional partners, including North Carolina Big Sweep, Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful, Texas State Aquarium, and the Beach Habitat Conservation Plan Field Manager for the County of Volusia Environmental Management in Florida. The NOAA Marine Debris Program partnered with Ocean Conservancy on this project as part of its Prevention through Education and Outreach Partnership grants.

What’s something unique about this project?
Ocean Conservancy created materials that can be adapted to many different learning environments, from formal classroom settings to board rooms. The result is a kit containing games, quizzes, advice on organizing cleanups and post-cleanup engagement – all targeted at debris prevention, conscious consumer action, proper product disposal and improved environmental citizenship.