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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA

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Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA

Jones0601



Registered: May 2020
City/Town/Province: Kennebunk
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Balloon-Free Whale of a Party!


As part of a 13-year-old promise to make amends to a whale for balloons I released when I didn't realize the harm they did, I have talked to thousands of people about the harm from balloons in the environment.


One education event I planned was to hold a party at our local elementary school where families could learn about marine life and reasons to not use balloons, as well as eco-friendly alternatives.


I did two of these events, this was the first one.


Ladder, a 65-foot inflatable whale modeled after a real fin whale in the Gulf of Maine who has been studied since 1996, was the special guest for a free Party at the school.


Fin whales are an endangered species and the second-largest animal to ever live on Earth.


During Ladder's Party, attendees were welcome to take a sock walk through Ladder and get a sense of just how big a fin whale really is. During the program, children and adults watched the whale inflate and went inside as well as having a chance to touch real whale baleen and other whale artifacts.


I had been working to educate his community about the dangers to marine life from balloons and trash in the ocean, and initiated the event because I thought some time spent with Ladder would make a lasting impression on people.


I was about 6-years-old when I saw my first whale and it changed my life. I went from being a kid who let balloons go without a thought, to someone who spent the past 13 years of my life trying to tell people our balloons end up in the whale feeding grounds and cause harm to marine life.


At a young age, I became passionate about the whales and their threats, and read every book in my school library about whales. I drew them, studied them and made a homemade whale head that I still take around to schools and other groups to talk about baleen, the filter-feeding system of most New England whales.


I learned so much about whales, the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, based in Portsmouth NH, named me a junior intern at eight-years-old and I became a young baleen naturalist on whale watch boats in New Hampshire where the Blue Ocean Society studies the creatures.


Blue Ocean Society is the owner of Ladder the inflatable whale and is helped me to sponsor this event. Volunteers from my high school Environmental Awareness Club and volunteers from our Middle School helped to decorate and assist the crowd.


I gave a short slide presentation about the dangers of both latex and mylar (plastic nylon) balloons to animals and children.


We had a craft table where children could make an origami jumping frog to take home and the first 50 children in the door could enter a random drawing to win a whale adoption package.


We had nearly 200 people at this event, and had television coverage.
Date: July 27, 2020 Views: 216 File size: 37.6kb : 350 x 263
Hours Volunteered: 50
Volunteers: 1
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 19
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