A public awareness campaign targeting the issue of plastics in the world’s oceans is in Washington DC where it has been a huge hit, attracting around 20,000 visitors!
The campaign opened in October last year, featuring the MBA’s Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey. The Ocean Plastic Lab exhibition was launched in Turin, Italy and travelled to Paris before continuing its tour of the G7 countries, inviting the public to engage with scientific work being done around the world.
The CPR Survey contributed CPR silk, images, graphs of the spread of plastics, and text which were all incorporated into one of the 3 converted shipping containers. Jennifer Skinner, Outreach Officer & CPR Survey Plankton Analyst said, “As the only UK marine science partner with the Ocean Plastic Lab exhibition, our work is fairly prominent, so it’s great to hear so many people are seeing it around the world!”
Dr Julia Schnetzer at the German Marine Research Consortium, and Campaign Manager for the OPL exhibition writes: This June the Ocean Plastics Lab left Europe for the first time and travelled to Washington D.C. for the Capitol Hill Ocean Week. From June 4th to 17th the exhibition took pride of place on The National Mall between the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Castle. This position – midway between Capitol Hill and the Monument – was only possible thanks to the fantastic support of our local Partners: NOAA, Consortium of Ocean Leadership, National Park Service, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, German Embassy to the US, EU Representation to the US, National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Institution and all the volunteers who welcomed visitors to the exhibition.
The Ocean Plastics Lab on The National Mall between the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Castle, Washington DC.
The Ocean Plastics Lab was able to attract about 20,000 visitors from all over the United States and abroad. We also had the pleasure to welcome high-level visitors including, Lisa Murkowski (Senator, Alaska), Suzanne Bonamici (Congresswoman, Oregon), Don Young (Congressman, Alaska), David O’Sullivan (EU Ambassador to the US), Boris Ruge (Deputy Chief of Mission, German Embassy), Tim Gallaudet (Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Ocean and Atmosphere), Caroline Vicini (Deputy Head, Delegation of the EU the the US), David J. Skorton (Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution), Craig McLean (Acting Chief Scientist NOAA), Jon White (CEO Consortium for Ocean Leadership), René Eppi (Director NOAA International Activities), Jack Metthey (Director EU Commission) and others.
Visitors to the Ocean Plastics Lab exhibition in Washington DC.
For us, it was a privilege to be part of Capitol Hill Ocean Week and all related events – these certainly provided an invaluable context for the exhibition. Also, we thank the EU for hosting an event entitled “Transatlantic Research Cooperation to Treasure and Protect the Atlantic Ocean” to celebrate twenty years of US-EU Science and Technology cooperation. World Oceans Day was a further highlight on June 9th with both “Smithsonian Ocean Family Day” and the very first “March for the Ocean”. These various events were always coupled with group visits to the Ocean Plastics Lab, including from a group of young engaged future ocean leaders from the “Sea Youth Rise Up” initiative. I enjoyed welcoming you all! The Hill briefings organized by the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation and the Consortium of Ocean Leadership also provided well-attended opportunities to highlight the problem of plastic in the ocean to the legislative community.
The next stop for the Ocean Plastics Lab will be in early August (30th July-12th August) in Ottawa, Canada at the Canadian Museum for Nature. Afterwards OPL is heading back to Europe for the Arctic Science Ministers conference in Berlin in late October.
We invite you to follow the Ocean Plastics Lab and its tour on online at:
Twitter @OPlasticsLab https://twitter.com/Oplasticslab
Instagram oceanplasticslab https://www.instagram.com/oceanplasticslab/