Kids at Fort Worth Museum of Science and History speak with environmentalist

FORT WORTH --- Sustainability and recycling took center stage at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History on Monday, when 200 people -- mostly children from summer educational programs -- had a video conversation with an environmentalist on a boat made from recycled materials in the Pacific Ocean.

For Jamie George of Granbury, who came with Mission I'mPossible at the Crossland Ninth Grade Center, recycling gained new importance after the event.

"I think it's pretty cool. I already recycle, but I want to get my friends to recycle too," said Jamie, 11.

The crowd had its video chat via Skype with David de Rothschild, an environmental activist who, along with his crew, is sailing from San Francisco to Sydney. Their catamaran, the Plastiki, is mostly made out of used soda bottles.

After apologizing for a delay caused by connection problems and giving a short recap of the Plastiki's voyage, Rothschild answered questions about recycling and encouraged the audience.

"I appreciate your support. I am so inspired. You are the changemakers," Rothschild said.

The voyage of the Plastiki was designed to raise awareness of what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area filled with plastic debris and estimated to be twice the size of Texas.

Van Romans, the museum's president, said that events like Monday's are the direction the museum is moving.

"This is current science, and this what we are interested in now," Romans said. "It is great for us to be able to talk to scientists, and for their passion to spill over to the kids and the staff."

RICHARD YEAKLEY, 817-390-7367