Marine Debris Education Newsletter

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NOAA Marine Debris Program

Education Newsletter

November 9, 2020  •  A quarterly newsletter highlighting marine debris curriculum, events, and ideas.

“I need the sea because it teaches me."

—Pablo Neruda

Student Opportunities

Find information about educational opportunities that are available throughout NOAA here.


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

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Marine Debris Art Contest Now Open!

An artwork contest submission of an octopus surrounded by marine debris.

Artwork by Clayton K. (Grade 1, California).

Are your students passionate about marine debris? Then get your art supplies ready, because this year’s NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest is officially open! Students in grades K-8 from the United States and U.S. territories can submit their artwork now through December 15.

Learn more


Trash Talk title slide.

Check out the TRASH TALK full moon watch party today!

Are you ready for some TRASH TALK? This free, one hour webinar, from NOAA Ocean Today and the Marine Debris Program, for educators and parents, explores the challenges and successes of keeping our rivers, bays and ocean free of marine debris. You'll also learn actions you can take in your own community to help make a difference in this global problem. 

Watch now

Learning Across Languages and Locations

Over flowing trash cans.

Overflowing trash in dumpsters on the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Credit: Mariana Islands Nature Alliance).

Marine debris is a constant and challenging threat to communities all over the world. It can travel on currents across the ocean, reach remote shorelines where very few people live, and cause major problems for both people and wildlife. As students and teachers prepare for a new year of learning, we are highlighting educational marine debris resources that highlight the problem in different locations and different languages. Whether you call it desechos marinos, ‘ōpala kai, or marine debris, we have resources for you! 

Learn more

Activity: Virtual Bolus Analysis

A Laysan Albatross checks out a toothbrush on the beach.

A curious Laysan Albatross checks out a toothbrush on the beach (Credit: NOAA).

Prior to leaving the nest, albatross chicks regurgitate a mass of indigestible material called a bolus. Boluses provide clues as to the types of food and trash eaten by albatross parents at sea. In this lesson and activity, students will use photographs of boluses to perform a “virtual dissection” and analysis. Winged Ambassadors – Ocean Literacy through the Eyes of Albatross is available free online courtesy of NOAA, Oikonos, and other partners. 

Learn more

Digital Debris - Learn About Marine Debris Online

Two marine debris educators present information on video.

Explore marine debris topics, such as the garbage patch, right from home (Credit: NOAA).

The NOAA Marine Debris Program has free activities, videos, and more available online. On the website, there is a dedicated section with resources and activities for all ages, where you can view activity books and browse lesson plans. Get started and download an activity today.

Learn more