Look twice, think twice

             Hello everyone! Hope everyone is doing well. As for me, I had the grand opportunity to help out at Siuslaw’s World Migratory Bird Day event a while back. Since it was a popular during our event over at Yaquina, I brought over the plastics demonstration table that a co-worker who was kind enough to share her side project. Even though it was cloudy with sporadic spouts of rain occurring throughout the day, there was still a good turnout. More importantly, we had the opportunity to inform the public not only about birds but as well as the plastics that affect them along with marine life.  

                As far as the plastics table was concerned, there were many people who were surprised to find out that plastics aren’t always easy to identify as they originally thought. Common things such as golf balls started to trick people into thinking that they were some sort of strange egg that might have came from a sea bird. To their credit however, from a good distance and even holding it close enough to your face, it could easily cause anyone to double take. Leave something in the ocean for long enough and it will take its toll on it. The pits from a golf ball will erode away over time and the white coating will start to look like and even feel like the texture of an egg. Stalks of seaweed or egg cases from Skates will start to look like sun dried pieces of plastics or even start to feel like them. Even natural occurring structures such as surf balls that form in the ocean like snowballs, building up by collecting pieces of driftwood and other organic materials, can form balls made up of complete trash.

                People that frequent the beach or are at least familiar with the marine life in the area had a sharp eye on spotting the differences between plastics and potential remains that either came from organisms or were made from organisms. However, for people that didn’t have as easy of access to the beaches from where they’re from had a harder time deciding. Although, regardless of their expertise of beach organism, it was exciting to talk to them about how to look twice when picking up plastics that may not always be as obvious as people might think. It’s always a comforting surprise to find the enthusiasm and interest people have on learning about what they can do on their end to help the environment. So remember, the next time you take a stroll down the beach, take a second glance at things around you. Be it for picking up trash or just the views.

Robert Vargas
[email protected]
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