Marcus Eriksen

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Marcus Eriksen, Ph.D. of
Anna Cummins of
Marcus Eriksen, Ph.D. embarked on a 2000-mile journey down the Mississippi River on a raft made from plastic bottles. Years earlier, Marcus had worked for several zoos and museums, founding his own company, Mission Science in 1997, a traveling natural history museum with school programs in geology and paleontology, an annual dinosaur expedition and field course in Wyoming for teachers, and a dinosaur exhibit traveling to other museums and science centers.

He also hosted “Commando Weather,” a series of public service announcements about the science of weather, for the Weather Channel.

Dr. Eriksen is an advocate for ocean conservation, as the Director of Project Development for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, studying and lecturing about the plague of plastic debris in the world’s oceans. In 2006, he won the H. David Nahai Water Quality Award in Education, presented by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board for his conservation work with inner-city students. In 2005, Marcus created Watershed Wonders, an educational video series packaged with curriculum materials for junior and senior high schools. Episodes include “Bottle Rocket down the Mississippi River”, “Coastal Wetlands and the Journey of Fluke”, and “Cola Kayak and the Los Angeles River.” And in 2008, he won the Menzie Education Award from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry for marine education.

In 2008, Marcus rafted across the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii on JUNK, a raft floating on 15,000 plastic bottles, 30 sailboat masts lashed to form a deck, and a Cessna airplane fuselage as a cabin. The journey, 2,600 miles in 88 days, brought attention to the issue of plastic trash filling the world’s oceans and solutions. JUNKraft was followed by a 2000-mile speaking tour from Vancouver, Canada to Tijuana, Mexico with his wife, Anna Cummins. Recently, they co-founded 5 Gyres Institute to study and communicate plastic pollution in the 5 large ocean gyres in the world. Marcus was elected a National Fellow of the Explorers Club in 2010.

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