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Marine Debris Takes Toll on Wildlife

Marine Debris Takes Toll on Wildlife
Dress made from balloon scraps. Photo Credit: Becky Flory
Jessica Flory, right, with younger sister Hailey, wears a dress she made of balloon scraps found on the beach to call attention to marine debris and its toll on wildlife.

At Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, 16-year-old volunteer Jessica Flory wants to call your attention to a growing problem for wildlife. She's wearing a dress she made from 87 balloons that refuge staff collected from a coastal island, where turtles mistake the mylar scraps for food and choke on them, and seabirds get strangled by balloon strings.

"I get lots of strange looks," says Jessica. "Kids ask, 'What is that you're wearing? Is that trash?' I say, 'These are balloons.' And the kids go, 'Hey mom. Look. That's a balloon dress, and she's wearing that because she wants to save the turtles.'"

Balloons are just part of the mounting piles of manmade junk that now wash up on even the remotest world beaches, including those in the far Pacific and Alaska.

See all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Volunteer Opportunities in Virginia here.

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