What the Ocean Carries

I’m thrilled to share a link to my newest essay, an exploration of our plastic world and the things I’ve learned about it while writing books for young readers. It was published in Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment just last week, and you can read it here.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to share the link!

Launches Past & Present


It’s launch week! In addition to freaking out, I’m remembering launches past. The photo above is from 2007, when my husband and kids helped me celebrate the publication of Tracking Trash with a launch party in our local Barnes & Noble. On Thursday, they’ll help me celebrate the publication of Beetle Busters, this time with a launch party in our local library. I’m feeling weepy with gratefulness that they are still by my side, still supporting me and this crazy work I love so much.

If you are in the central Massachusetts area and are free on Thursday, please join our party. All the details can be found here.


What Do You Think?

With many thanks to my tech guys (the twelve-year-old Burns boys) and the photographers I have yet to credit in the video (we are working on this), here is my first-ever book trailer. It is a work in progress; I still have to figure out how to roll the photo credits, how to fix the text-heavy back end, and how to insert an image that is being prickly. While I work through those issues, though, I thought I’d post a draft here. If you have a moment to check it out, please do. And feel free to leave your feedback and comments below.

For the record, my tech guys are working on a trailer for THE HIVE DETECTIVES, too. I’m told that quality work like theirs cannot be rushed, and that there is no way to predict when the THD trailer will be ready. Suffice to say that someday the books page of my website will include trailers for each of my books. Someday.


Ship-to-Shore Education

© Gerry Burns

Oh, my. How did it get to be Friday? I’ve had my head focused on other things, I guess. Like water in the basement (uggh) and butterflies in the yard (a mourning cloak, I think!). I’m stopping in to share a few quick notes of interest for teachers using TRACKING TRASH in the classroom.

The Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF), founded by Captain Charles Moore (star of TRACKING TRASH) is gearing up for a new ocean research voyage, this time to the Indian Ocean. Teachers and students are invited to tag along virtually via the Ship-to-Shore program. Here’s a blurb from the AMRF newsletter:

This week AMRF’S Anna Cummins And Dr. Marcus Eriksen will embark on a voyage from Perth, Australia to Port Louis, Mauritius aboard the 250ft Clipper, Stad Amsterdam, crossing the Indian Ocean. They will be joining the “Beagle Project”, re-tracing the path of Charles Darwin famous voyage 178 years ago. Anna and Marcus will collect samples along the way to investigate change in the state of the ocean since Darwin’s voyage.

You and your students are invited to join the expedition online through the Ship-2-Shore Education Program. The research crew will be sending images, videos and descriptions of their experiences while they are at sea conducting research. Students will be able to communicate with the crew by sending questions and comments through the Internet. This opportunity to participate will be during the voyage from:

Indian Ocean: Australia to Mauritius (Mar. 16 – Apr. 4, 2010)

If you are not a student or a teacher we invite you to follow the voyage through our public blog which can be located through our home page at http://algalita.org/

If you are a student or a teacher, the Ship-2-Shore Education Program is free and signing up is easy. Simply send an email to vesselsupport@algalita.org and include:

1. Name and location of school
2. # of students participating
3. Grade level

When we receive your registration we will send you more information about this voyage. For more general information about the program please visit Ship-2-Shore Education Program.

In related news, Captain Moore appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman on Monday night. Did anyone catch it? Here’s a clip from the AMRF website. Moore has now sparred with Colbert and chatted with Letterman; I wonder what Leno is waiting for?

Okay, back to spring. Have a great weekend!



Two weeks until SPRING!

That’s a crocus image from last year, but I think this year’s crop will be poking through the snow pack in my front yard any day now …

Four weeks until the softcover edition of TRACKING TRASH is released!

I’m happy that my first literary baby will soon be available in a lower-priced, easy-to-tote-to-the-beach version. (Hey, someone might do it!) To celebrate, I’m going to link back to a series of blog posts I wrote in 2007, when the hardcover edition was first published: The Stories Behind TRACKING TRASH

Eight weeks until THE HIVE DETECTIVES is officially released!

To celebrate, the lovely and talented Kathy Erskine invited me over to her blog. You can read our interview (and see some bee guts!) here. Thank you, Kathy!


TRACKING TRASH Resources for Teachers

© Matt Cramer/AMRF

Did anyone catch the Colbert Report on Wednesday night? Stephen Colbert’s guest was Captain Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF) and one of the scientists profiled in TRACKING TRASH. Personally, I would not want to be in Colbert’s hot seat … he’d have me standing on it yelling and screaming in about twenty-two seconds. Captain Moore, however, was the picture of calm and consistency, letting Colbert and his viewers know that the accumulation of plastic trash in our ocean is not a joke. Check it out for yourself (or your students) here.

As if sparring with Stephen Colbert were not enough hard work for one week, yesterday, Captain Moore and AMRF announced a new initiative called the 5 Gyres Project. Along with several other ocean conservation organizations, Captain Moore and his team will soon be visiting the five gyres* of the world ocean, sampling for plastic levels, and reporting what they find to the world. Teachers (and anyone else interested worried about this issue) will find a whole lot of useful information at the new 5 Gyre Project website.

I’m working on a compilation of these and other web and print resources for teachers using TRACKING TRASH in the classroom. It will eventually be available through my website, but if you are a teacher in need of it now, please let me know and I will send it by email.

*A gyre, for the record, is a circular pattern of ocean surface currents. There is one gyre in each major ocean basin.