As Father’s Day quickly approaches, we can easily get caught up trying to find the perfect gift to show dad how much we care. At the NOAA Marine Debris Program, we got to thinking about the memories and traditions we treasure with our dads, and as parents, which mean so much more than something that comes wrapped in a box. Instead of focusing on gifts, our team is taking this time to share our meaningful and sustainable family experiences that help us reduce waste, protect the planet, and celebrate the day! From our marine debris family to yours, you can use these ideas to create your own memories on Father’s Day.
Spend the Day Outside
Our team’s favorite Father’s Day activities center around getting outside and making waves! Take some time to plan a trip with Dad for his special day, or just to explore your local environment.
Communications and Outreach Specialist, Emma, always spent time with her family outdoors and on the lake in Michigan. From taking a day trip to a lighthouse, to visiting Fort Michilimackinac, and riding bikes around Mackinac Island, her family spent many Father’s Days and summer vacations near and on the Great Lakes.
Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, Christy, inherited her love of nature and the ocean from her father. Whenever she visits her South Florida home, they snorkel along the coast and visit the mangroves.
Recently, Research Analyst, Carlie was reminiscing with her dad about past Father’s Days and what he remembered most from those special occasions. He immediately said his favorite activity was getting outside and going for a long bike ride after a family brunch.
Living in West Virginia with four kids, two dogs, 15 chickens and no shortage of things to fix, Response Coordinator, Jason’s kids attempt to give him Father's Day off from all the chores. Last year, they took a family kayak trip down the Antietam Creek. Fortunately, he says, they ended the trip with the same number of people and kayaks, and they each gathered a colorful collection of trash to help remember their day together!
Tackle a Project Together
Instead of giving a gift that may be forgotten, spend some time working together on a project. Whether you do a craft, spend time in the garden, or make some repairs, you will remember your accomplishments and the time together!
Southeast Regional Coordinator, Sarah, lived all over the world growing up as part of a military family. Her dad lives in Texas now, but when he visits her in Charleston, he graciously teaches her how to make repairs to her house and/or car. During one visit, he helped her install a pervious patio, which allows stormwater to naturally seep into the ground instead of redirecting it to storm drains.
Reducing consumption can start with growing more at home and buying less food (and packaging) from stores. For Peter, the Alaska Regional Coordinator, that means adding planters to a local park, with assistance from a particularly strict inspector, his son, Greyson.
Clean-up Your Local Beach
When in doubt, take your Dad to the beach or a local park and give back to our ocean and the environment by cleaning up. You can even use the Marine Debris Tracker app and help us collect information about marine debris.
Northeast Regional Coordinator, Demi, lives far from her hometown in Florida. When her dad, Paul, visits New England, they always walk to the beach to look for whales passing by - then she convinces him to pick up some trash while they're there.
Whether you’re celebrating your dad, dads, stepdad, grandad, uncle, father-in-law, mom-who-is-also-dad, or any other father-figure in your life, we hope you can take some time to create lasting memories like the ones we hold dear. Happy Father’s Day!