Brightmark, Guy Harvey Foundation Launch Marine Science Curriculum, Educating K-5 Students on Plastic Pollution

September 12th, 2023
Reading time: 3 minutes

Inaugural Day of Action Ocean Cleanup Will Commemorate Curriculum Launch, Led by Fourth Graders from Both Coasts

San Francisco, CA and Fort Lauderdale, FL, Sept. 12, 2023 – Brightmark, a circular innovation company with a mission to Reimagine Waste, and Guy Harvey Foundation (“GHF”), a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the marine environment, announced a multimedia marine science curriculum called “Changing the Tide,” launching in elementary schools reaching 30,000 students across 1,250 classrooms. Brightmark, together with GHF, authored the Plastic Pollution, Plastic Solution unit, a week-long lesson plan that addresses a range of age-appropriate topics, from identifying different types of plastic and their corresponding life cycles to understanding different recycling processes.

K-5 students will explore the role of plastic as a ubiquitous material in our daily lives while also examining the waste hierarchy and ways our current disposal and waste processing can negatively impact ocean health. Additionally, they will investigate the latest circular technologies used to convert plastic waste into high-value materials, promoting the circular economy. The goal of these studies is to encourage students to think more holistically about plastics and how we can reduce their environmental footprint. To support this, students at each grade level will create a collective art project that will culminate into a school-wide coral reef art installation using plastic objects gathered during ocean clean-ups.

This comes at a pivotal time as the global plastic waste crisis continues to grow in scale. It is predicted that without concerted intervention, the annual flow of plastic into the ocean will nearly triple by 2040. The “Changing the Tide” curriculum is intended to inspire the next generation of environmentalists, particularly those living near coastlines and waterways directly impacted by plastic pollution.

“Brightmark is thrilled to partner with the Guy Harvey Foundation on the development of a plastics awareness curriculum for a younger generation of students that educates and promotes the need for more sustainable solutions to improve the health of our oceans,” said Bob Powell, Brightmark, founder and chief executive officer. “This educational material addresses the challenges and the opportunities to address the global plastic crisis and gives relevant, actionable tools young people can adopt to make a difference in their communities.”

This year, the curriculum launch will accompany a “Changing the Tide” bi-coastal community cleanup day of action on September 14, led by fourth-grade students at two partnering schools: Florida’s Guy Harvey Academy of Arts & Science at Anna Maria Elementary and California’s Healdsburg Elementary. This event will provide an on-the-ground, immersive experience for students to understand the direct impact of plastic pollution in their local communities.

“We are inspired by the continued positive response to the education around these vital topics that ensure a sustained focus on protecting marine life,” said Jessica Harvey, CEO of the Guy Harvey Foundation. “Our partnership with Brightmark creates a pathway for the next generation to take demonstrative action for the health of the planet as they envision it. We are excited to continue to roll out our curriculum across the country and globally to engage, educate, and inspire as many students as possible.”

The roll-out of the K-5 curriculum comes on the heels of the successful launch of the high-school Marine Science 101 Curriculum in 2021, which has reached nearly 38,000 students across the world to date (available for download on the Brightmark website), which is currently being translated into Spanish to reach an international audience.

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