Marine Debris Education Newsletter

The blue and white National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Logo

NOAA Marine Debris Program

Educator Newsletter

January 20, 2020  •  A quarterly newsletter highlighting marine debris curriculum, events, and ideas.

"What I stand for is what I stand on."

—Wendell Berry

NOAA Partner Spotlight

The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), with support from a NOAA Marine Debris Prevention grant, created the 3T Project, Traveling Through Trash: Coastal Migratory Animal Encounters with Marine Debris. The lessons focus on increasing student self-awareness of how their lifestyle choices and behaviors contribute to the creation of land-based litter that can become marine debris.

What's Happening Near You?

Learn more about marine debris in your region by clicking a link below. 

Great Lakes




Gulf of Mexico

Pacific Islands

Pacific Northwest




Follow us on:

Facebook logo.


Twitter logo.


Instagram logo.


NOAA logo.

Website & Blog

Resource Spotlight: Matching Trash

Cover of the curriculum Talking Trash and Taking Action

Access educational resources on the NOAA Marine Debris Program website.

Talking Trash and Taking Action was developed as a means to educate the next generation about ocean trash and, most importantly, how we all can prevent it. Created through an educational partnership between the Ocean Conservancy and the NOAA Marine Debris Program, this flexible curriculum can be adapted for all ages.

Check out the lesson, Matching Trash (page 12), where participants will learn the different material that marine debris is comprised of by grouping different types of debris together. 

Download the full lesson plan here.

Download the Debris Deck here.


Full STEAM Ahead! The Marine Debris Program Has a Lesson Plan for That

An adult sits across a table observing a student sift grains of rice from a jar of dried beans.

The Marine Debris Program’s Northeast Regional Coordinator, Demi Fox, applies STEM techniques at the New England Aquarium's World Ocean Day (Photo: NOAA).

At the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP), we are often asked, “What can we do to help clean up the ocean?” Prevention is key to solving the marine debris problem over time. If you think about an overflowing sink, the first step before cleaning up the water is to turn off the tap. However, in order to prevent marine debris, we need to understand where it is coming from and that understanding starts with a solid marine debris educational foundation. 

View the blog to learn how MDP matched a lesson plan to each STEAM category.


Craft: Make Your Own Recycled Paper Snowflakes

A paper snowflake hangs on a cloth wall.

Make your own snow day with this simple snowflake craft (Photo: NOAA).

Create snowflakes from paper tubes and paint. 

Supplies needed:

-Paper tubes (4 toilet paper tubes or 2 paper towel tubes will make one snowflake as shown above).
-White paint 
-Hot glue gun (*Glue guns become very hot. Handle the glue gun and hot glue with care.)


Paper tubes are painted white on the outside and set aside to allow the paint to dry.

1. Paint the outside of the paper tube white (or any color) and set aside to dry. 

A person cuts a white, paper tube into smaller pieces.

2. Press the paper tube flat and cut the tube into small circles.

Cardboard tubes are cut into smaller pieces.

3. Lay out the pieces into the shape of a snowflake. Snowflake patterns will vary. Feel free to design your own snowflake style. 

A hot glue gun is used to glue the paper tubes together.

4. Using the hot glue gun, begin to glue the pieces together. You may have to pinch the location where glue was just applied to ensure that they "stick" together. Glue as many paper pieces together as desired to make the snowflake. 

Many more pieces of cut paper tube are glued together to make a snowflake.

5. To make shorter sections, fold the cut tube in half. Once the flake is completed, allow several minutes for it to dry. 

Several paper snowflakes hang along a wall.

6. Once the snowflake is dry, thread a piece of yarn trough one of the loops. Hang it up as desired.

Let us know what you think! 

Please provide feedback on our marine debris resources so that we can better serve your needs.