In the News

2022 Spring STF Newsletter: Blue Wave Microplastic Team Updates

This year the Blue Wave Microplastic Debris Removal Team kicks off its 14th year of service. Learn about Operation Dragonfire 4, upcoming special events and volunteer opportunities.

2022 Spring STF Newsletter: Punta Pargos Update

Read the latest about our sea turtle conservation work in Punta Pargos, Costa Rica.

Meet our newest volunteers and learn about what you can do to help.

Summer job opportunity

June 1 – September 15, 2022

STF/Blue Wave is hiring for positions on our Microplastic Filtration Team.

Work at Cannon Beach and the surrounding area doing environmental remediation of marine microplastic landfall.

Work outdoors on a project that benefits local ecology and our ocean.

Join our team!

Researchers aim to rid Nova Scotia beaches of microplastics

CTV Atlantic News

September 22, 2019

Microplastics litter beaches and waterways across Canada and they pose a risk to animals and people. Now, local researchers are looking at ways to clean up the mess microplastics leave behind.

An Oregonian’s Unique Approach To Ridding Beaches Of Microplastics

Oregon Public Broadcasting

“When Oregon-based sea turtle conservationist Marc Ward realized that microplastics were killing the creatures, he got inventive.”

cannon beach microplastics cleanup

How To Clean Sand: Volunteers Take On Microplastics At Oregon Coast

Oregon Public Broadcasting

by Jack Fisher

“How do you clean all the sand on a beach? A group of volunteers didn’t do it grain by grain, but took on the task screen by screen.

With the guidance of Seaside-based conservation group Sea Turtles Forever, about 50 volunteers gathered to clean the sand near Haystack Rock using unique screen filtration systems.”

Photo by Joseph Winters, OPB/EarthFix


Read the letter, sent by the Center of Biological Diversity to the Department of Environmental Quality on July 25, 2018. It outlines the water quality standards applicable to microplastic pollution, the current microplastic threats to water quality and ecosystem health, and it provides a summary on microplastic pollution in Oregon. The letter specifies water bodies to be listed as impaired and brings to attention specific water quality violations. The letter cites data collected by STF!

Columbia Academy


April 2018

The Columbia Academy of West Linn, Oregon, has done an incredible job of teaching thier students to care about our fragile environment. This group worked so hard hand-picking microplastic out of the dune grass at Whale Park. They were champions! Marc asked them, “Why do you want to do this hard work?” They responded in a roaring chorus, “Because WE CARE!” It was heart warming to see the next generation ready to take on the challenges facing thier marine environment.

Pictured: Marc Ward (STF) and the Columbia Academy

Australia’s OCCI Port Stephens Volunteers Introduce Microplastic Filtration Systems to Clean Up Beaches

Read about it in the Port Stephens Examiner.

Pictured: Keith Green, OCCI (Ocean and Coastal Care Initiatives) Port Stephens

Fort Stevens State Park
Mega Sink Clean-up

February 19, 2018

With the help of 60+ volunteers, STF pulled 543lbs. of marine plastic out of the sink in three hours. Big credit goes to the Portland Eco-School and Earth Leaders. There was a blizzard the day before, and they showed up anyway. This was an incredible educational experience for the kids, and they had fun. Volunteers picked up microplastic, some macro debris, and two tires. Kids were taught that how you shop could save the ocean, or destroy it. They were also presented with a certificate of achievement for their hard work.

Pictured: STF Blue Wave and Earth Leader volunteers

Albany Beach

Albany Beach Clean-up

On October 8, 2017, Blue Wave volunteers filtered 2,440 lbs of microplastic and debris from Albany Beach, CA. In just six hours! Special thanks to Michael Narea for taking microplastic density samples the day before the big filtration operation, and to Mary Barnsdale for organizing EVERYTHING. Mary brought together an amazing group of volunteers to accomplish our goal at Albany Beach.

Pictured: Marc Ward (STF) and Scott Possin (Park Supervisor) just before hauling the bagged plastic out to the landfill.

Cannon Beach Clean-up

August 23, 2017

Our filtration operation went well at Haystack Rock (August 23, 2017). We filtered 244.22 lbs of microplastic detritus out of the beach behind Haystack Rock in 4 hours.

BIG THANKS to Nancy Hutchins, Barbara Murray, Kristin Steinke, Mary Beth Cottler, Rebecca Parker, Rachel Conyers, Selah Bryce, Tina Fenny, Lisa Vabecker, Jen Rawa, Alex Doughty, Luzia Ogle Sooner, Annabel Jay, Constance Raida, Ginny Wright and Ellyn Brown.

Notice something about this group? ALL GALS except for Marc. Nurturing the Beach, Ocean, and Planet.

Pictured left to right: Marc Ward, Valerie Schockelt, Puka Rice, Melissa Keyser, and Paige Bauer.

Removing Oil Tar Balls

Christian Ebel (10 years old) and his parents lead the STF Blue Wave Texas team. Working in the area of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, they’ve captured oil tar balls using static charge filtration screens. Tar balls are formed when crude oil is embedded in the beach. Ironically, these balls were filtered in front of the Nature Conservancy offices in Grand Island, Louisiana.

This is a revolutionary use of STF static charge filtration screens. These efforts are restoring the beach to a pristine state. Way to go Christian!

Manzanita Beach Clean-up 2017

STF/Blue Wave volunteers will operate static charge filtration systems June 24-27. The beach is inundated with marine microplastic. We plan to run 10-12 filtration teams per day, so come on out and see a large-scale beach filtration team in action. It is going to be fun and very beneficial to the Beach, the Ocean, and the Planet!

Less Plastic, More Turtles

The Daily Astorian and Portland Tribune

by Jennifer Anderson. March 2017.

Microplastic debris, pieces that are 5 millimeters or less (the size of a pencil eraser), are the most devastating to sea life. Because of the ocean’s currents, Fort Stevens State Park is the top spot on the West Coast for microplastics — the biggest “high-density landfall site,” with 5,000 grams of plastics per square meter of sand — more than two-thirds of it microplastics.

How to Save a Beach

Via Magazine

March 2017

A visit to Oregon’s spectacular shore reveals the extent of our plastics problem—and what we can do to turn the tide.

STF’s efforts are featured in this article by Nino Padova.

One Green Planet

Featuring STF’s “Filtering a Plastic Ocean” video

Join One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign to learn more. Together, we can make a difference!

Congratulations, Marc!

Congratulations to Marc Ward for receiving a US Patent! After five years of dedication, the static charge filtration screen system for microplastic removal is certifiably up and running. Armed with Marc’s invention, the Blue Wave Microplastic Recovery Team will be coming soon to a beach near you.

Bring the Microplastic Filtration System to your local beach! Filtration systems are available for purchase for $169, plus shipping.
Contact us for ordering information.

Thank You, Rufford Foundation!

Small grant awarded to STF

Read the full article

Conservation and Kids

Nancy Tankersley, a volunteer biologist for STF, gave a sea turtle conservation talk to 3rd and 4th graders at Chugach Optional School in Anchorage, AK in April 2015. They were inspired to make conservation posters and send them to President Obama to promote conservation action.

Thank you to Cami Dalton, their teacher, for sharing with STF.


Organic micropollutants in marine plastics debris from the open ocean and remote and urban beaches
by Hisashi Hirai, Hideshige Takada, Yuko Ogata, Rei Yamashita, Kaoruko Mizukawa, Mahua Saha, Charita Kwan, Charles Moore, Holly Gray, Duane Laursen, Erik R. Zettler, John W. Farrington, Christopher M. Reddy, Emily E. Peacock, Marc W. Ward Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2011

Protecting the Sea Turtles of Costa Rica
by Marc Ward, New England Explorer’s Blog, 2012

Sole Searching in Paradise by Marc Ward, 2015

Seaside activist tracks waves of ‘microplastic’ washed onto Oregon beaches by Scott Learn, The Oregonian, 2012

Trawls and Trash Represent One-Two Punch for Threatened Turtles Slideshow: Scientific American, 2012

Plastic in the environment: One argument for banning plastic bags by Melissa Gaskill, Austin Culture Map, 2012

Have you seen this sea turtle? Rare leatherbacks spotted by network of activists
Costa Rican Conservation Network, 2010

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