The Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute, 801 Pilottown Road, Lewes, will celebrate World Oceans Day beginning at 8:30 a.m. June 8, during which time guests will learn about the various ways to help lessen the presence of plastic and its impact on marine life.

The day’s activities will begin with a beach cleanup, after which participants can meet back at the MERR offices at 10:30 a.m. for an art installation, fun, educational activities for younger participants and short films focused on the importance of reducing plastic products. The event will conclude with a film followed by a presentation with guest speaker John Ososky, the Smithsonian Institution’s Collection Manager of Marine Mammals.

For the cleanup, groups will meet at 8:30 a.m. at two locations, Beach Plum Island and Cape Henlopen State Park, 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes, for the clean-up. Those who wish to participate in the Cape Henlopen Clean are encouraged to meet at the Fishing Pier. Participants are encouraged to dress according to weather forecasts. Ocean-friendly sunscreen​ and non-aerosol bug spray is recommended. Participants will receive biodegradable bags to collect the waste.

Festivities will commence at 10:30 a.m. at the MERR building. There, participants can take part in a collective art project called “Trash Talking Turtles,” using debris found during the cleanup. They will help to create art as part of a worldwide educational project that began with a group of students from Virginia Beach and the Virginia Aquarium and Science Center.

Guest speaker Ososky, collection manager of Marine Mammals at the Smithsonian Institution, will speak at 1 p.m. As part of the Collections staff at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., Ososky’s role is to collect and analyze all marine mammal bones donated to the museum to collect valuable information on species, their habitat, and outside influences that may pose a threat.

A green sea turtle, later named Kermit, came ashore in the state with mass amounts of trash in his throat. After its successful removal, a group of nearby high school students took on an art project that was displayed throughout the state.

Using the items collected for this year’s clean-up, participants will be invited to create “Trash Talking Turtles” for display on the MERR premises.

Additionally, a coloring corner, face-painting and a mini Ocean Film Festival will screen, featuring fun, informative films. The films are suitable for all ages and will range from animated to documentary with the central message being that of educating viewers about the dangers the ocean faces from plastic pollution and ways they can make changes in their lives to make a difference.

“A Plastic Ocean” will be screened at Cannon Lab Room 104 at 12:15 p.m. This documentary began as a documentary on the elusive blue whale, but focused on the amount of plastic waste found in the water in the process. Featuring an international team of scientists and researchers, and filmed in more than 20 locations around the globe, the film sparked a worldwide movement focused on the fragile ocean state and offers solutions that can be put into immediate effect to promote change.

For more, visit merrinstitute.org.