“If it was up to me, I would say let’s go outside. Let’s go climb trees. That kind of relationship with the land is what makes people take care of it,” said Teacher Amanda Shiro, as she reflected on the way she was raised as a kid growing up in Ngarchelong State. Now a seventh-grade teacher in her third year at Ngarchelong Elementary, Ms. Amanda is thriving in her role of educating young people. She is committed to ensuring that the Palauan culture of environmental stewardship is a part of what she brings to the classroom.

This year, because of donors and supporters, Teacher Amanda was able to bring a new plastic pollution lesson plan to her class which included a fun, half-day activity where students collected, segregated, and analyzed plastic garbage that had washed up at Ollei Port. In total, 84% of public school 7th graders increased their knowledge about ocean ecosystems through the delivery of the lesson plan.

“Because of you, nearly all seventh graders in public schools engaged in plastic pollution science education.”

Plastic pollution is a growing problem for Palau and the world. It is estimated that 8 million tons of plastic waste enter the ocean each year on top of the 150 million tons of plastic already swirling around the ocean. In addition to being a threat to fish and other marine animals, plastics, especially microplastics, can be toxic to humans who consume these animals.

When asked about the plastic pollution activity, one student remarked, “We need more activities like this. We need to help the world.”

This project was made possible with support from members and donors, as well as the Ministry of Education and its teachers and educators who co-created the lesson plan.