Dune's Island_Ep5_Tiny's Trash?

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Here's the fifth episode of my environmental learning series. It aims to teach coastal science concepts in a really fun way through characters and stories. I'm trying to get feedback to see what works and what can be improved.


Mouth discovers a discarded sandwich bag on the beach that suspiciously smells like one of Tiny's stinky sandwiches. Convinced that Tiny is the culprit, she sets out to catch him in the act of littering. Meanwhile, Jordi learns how deadly trash can be to marine life and how we can all help to protect the ocean and the animals that live in it.


I've included the video as a supporting document so you can download it and share it with your students offline. :-)

You can also download it freely here: https://vimeo.com/333863962


-The beach is divided into zones.

-Different sized objects can be found in the various zones.

-Coral identification.

-Sea Bean identification.

-Discarded plastic bags can kill sea turtles.

-Discarded soda can rings can be lethal to marine animals.

-Beach clean-up.

-Trash that is thrown overboard from ships often finds its way back to shore.

-Animals can get their heads stuck in cans.

-Animals sometimes ingest plastics, which can kill them.

-Discarded fishing line kills birds and turtles when they ingest it.

-Discarded fishing line kills birds and turtles when they get tangled it.

-Trash in the ocean can take years to decompose.

-Tin cans in the ocean can take 50 years to decompose.

-Plastic six-pack rings in the ocean can take 400 years to break down.

-Fishing line in the ocean can take 600 years to break down.

-The importance of disposing of trash properly.


“Dune's Island" is an environmental learning series that I've created in association with the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, Florida. The series, which so far consists of five episodes, aspires to reconnect children with the natural world through the gently humorous adventures of 16-year-old Dune (a junior naturalist and student mentor) and her new pupils, Jordi and Mouth, a couple of city kids visiting for the summer. With the help of Mr. Binnacle, an educator at the Science Center, the kids solve mysteries, protect endangered species and learn to become stewards of the island.

I'm an instructor who teaches film production and I've been passionate about the natural sciences for a very long time. A few years ago, I discovered the Marine Science Center on the Florida coast and thought it would make a wonderful setting for an educational series that could be used in classrooms as well as at the Science Center. The Manager and the Director of Education welcomed the idea and we were off and running with the project.

We cast some very talented thespians from the local high schools (most of whom had never acted in a film, but you would never know it) as well as from various theater groups in the area. The project has also provided my students the opportunity to gain real-world experience working as crew members. Since everyone participating was a volunteer, we had to film the episodes around school and work schedules rather than all at once, as is normally done. Over the course of a couple of years, we created five episodes.

A team of teachers from Volusia County Schools has since written their own custom curriculum to support the films and are now using it in their classrooms. This has inspired us to begin creating our own activities and curriculum based on the Common Core Standards which we will be making available here.

Since this is an ongoing project that is constantly evolving...(we are filming brand new episodes this summer)...any and all constructive feedback is very welcome and much appreciated.

I sincerely hope that "Dune's Island" will be helpful in your classroom! :-)


If you found this episode to be helpful, please consider making a donation. I pay for these films pretty much out-of-pocket so donations help a lot. You can donate on my website:


Thank you!

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Eric Matyas

Eric Matyas

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