Plastic PURGE

Everyone say hello to the Whitehall Middle School Plastic PURGE team and their intrepid teacher, Susan Tate.

We sure do take a great selfie together, but don't mess around with this group and their distaste for plastic pollution. As most of you may or may not have figured out by our gear at, we aren't too fond of plastic straws and balloons.

This group of students and I have the same dislikes.

So when Mrs. Tate contacted me to come sit down with her enthusiastic middle school students to talk about Clean Ocean Clothing and my previous job at the National Marine Sanctuaries in Alpena, MI, I was giddy! Middle schoolers with a drive and passion to change the fate of our Great Lakes? What isn't to like?

This group of six students ranges from 6th to 8th grade boys and girls and are led by one of those teachers we all wish we had. The type that always has fish and plants in her room and let's you get messy with science experiments. I'm talking about Mrs. Tate, the science teacher that wins national awards like when she was recognized with the 2015 Paul DeHart Hurd Award presented by the National Middle Level Science Teachers Association ( And she's traveled to Antarctica (2013), and now she's off to Australia this fall to travel as an Expedition Fellow for Earth Echo International ( I don't want to gush but she's pretty amazing. Ok, I'm gushing. 


The reason we all got together in the air conditioned library - instead of Mr.s Tate's room which has no air - was to chat about the Plastic PURGE team's new project. They are participating in the Lexus Eco Challenge ( The Lexus Eco Challenge is an exciting national STEM competition for grades 6–12 that awards a total of $500,000 in grants and scholarships to eligible teachers, students, and schools each year. Their project for the competition will be focusing on the destructive effects balloons have on animals, people, and the environment. 

Since Clean Ocean Clothing has already created a design focused on #balloonsblow we will be screen printing these shirts together next week! As a side note this design originally was inspired by picking up balloons on beach cleanups, hiking in Michigan, and by the amazing sisters at Stay tuned next week for more information about the #plasticPURGE group and what they are doing in Muskegon County. 

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .