A primary focus of Algalita, he says, is to engage youth around the world and introduce students and teachers to the issue of plastic pollution. Algalita created the Ship-2-Shore Education Program, says Francis, where the public can interact with researchers who are actively investigating gyres by sending questions to the ship via their blog. “We’ve had almost 5,000 teachers and students register for participation in that blog,” he says. “It’s been a great way to communicate with them about the issue of plastic pollution.” Algalita also created Watershed Wonders; a classroom curriculum that teachers can use to introduce students to the issue of plastic pollution, he says.
In 2011, Algalita hosted a youth summit with 100 students from 12 countries, says Francis. They learned about plastic pollution and how they could institute positive change in their communities to reduce the amount of plastic pollution. “It gives me chills to talk about it because I saw kids from Kenya, kids from Tasmania, kids from Guam, Canada, central L.A.,” he says, “all come together and share a passion for improving the planet that we live on.” These students are the future decision makers, Francis says, so it is important to keep informing them so they can make the right decisions. “It absolutely gives me hope for the future.” he says. The young kids that hear about this get it; they want to make a difference, they want to do the right thing.”
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