Fort Wayne Children's Zoo teaches guests about how trash affects water systems for World Ocean Day

Teens in the Teens for Nature volunteer program taught guests about how trash in streams and rivers can eventually reach the ocean and cause damage to the wildlife.

Posted: Jun 18, 2021 6:34 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2021 12:41 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Here in Fort Wayne we’re hundreds of miles from the ocean.

But how we treat our waterways can impact those ecosystems.

“All of the smallest rivers lead to the ocean and everything has an impact on all of our ocean life and all of the other lives, including our own,” Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Teens for Nature counselor Libby Dulinsky said.

On Friday for World Ocean Day, the teens taught guests about what can happen when trash gets in the ocean.

And kids got a special hands-on experience.

“We have a little kiddie pool set up full of trash, and some fake fish, and we’re trying to bring awareness to lots of trash that’s like in the ocean,” Teens for Nature volunteer Edan Orr said.

Though the game was simple, Dulinsky said the lesson can have a lasting impact on these kids.

“They’re learning about the importance of picking up after each other and about the animals and about what we can do to be able to create a better earth to make it last longer,” she said.

Acting now can help us avoid major buildups.

“There is a thing called trash island, which is bigger than the state of Texas that is entirely trash that’s in the ocean, and one of the biggest things that we can do about that is picking that up and getting rid of that and disposing of it correctly,” Dulinsky said.

Orr said all parts of ocean life have a purpose.

“Every fish, every turtle, every bird that gets harmed is still useful, and that’ll be like one less animal that helps in evolution,” she said.

And she’s glad to be reaching kids younger than her to continue the mission.

“This is gonna be the generation that’s gonna take over after us,” she said.

Fort Wayne is taking steps of its own to protect water ecosystems.

In April we told you about the Clean Drains Fort Wayne effort, which will involve painting murals on storm drains to remind people not to throw litter down them.

Those drains go directly into our rivers.

You can find that story here.

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