jace tunnell crowd

Nurdle Patrol Needs You, Citizen Scientists!

April 8, 2020

Citizen scientists, Nurdle Patrol needs your help! Nurdles are tiny plastic pellets that are used to make almost every plastic item we use, so they’re everywhere! Ships, trucks, and trains all carry them, and when they spill out on their way to manufacturing facilities, they reach the ocean and wash up by the millions on beaches across every coast. The issue with nurdles is that they are harmful or even deadly for sea creatures, and if we clean them up from beaches, new ones will simply find their way back. That’s why the Nurdle Patrol is determined to make a permanent change. 

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Nurdle Jar

What do you do with your nurdles?

March 26, 2020

If you’ve been a citizen scientist for Nurdle Patrol, you’re probably familiar with the collection process: going out to your local shores, picking up plastic pellets from the waterline, and logging the data. But you may have wondered, what’s next? Clearly, you wouldn’t just fling them out into the ocean again. So, what do you do with these newly collected nurdles to make sure they don’t end up polluting a different beach?

Jace Tunnell, reserve director at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, gets this question all the time. His suggestion is to “put the

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Jace Tunnell

Nurdle Patrol Methodology Published

March 9, 2020

We are excited to announce that the Nurdle Patrol sampling methodology was published in February 2020 in the science journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. The paper identifies not only how sampling is conducted, but how the data can be used in helping to guide policy. With the paper being open access, this means it can be downloaded and shared for free, by anyone! We are hoping this paper helps communities across the country use the Nurdle Patrol data for future research and litigation against companies that are releasing plastic pellets into the waterways. Anyone in the world can add data

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number of nurdles to make plastic grocery bag

How many nurdles does it take?

December 24, 2019

Ever wondered how many plastic pellets (nurdles) it takes to make every day house hold products? Well, we sat down with a scale to find out. These numbers are not exact due to various factors, but they give us a good estimate for how many nurdles it takes to make certain items. Some of the factors that make this not exact are that most of the nurdles we used for this are low density polyethylene (PE) found on shorelines. Some of the items we were weighing were made of polypropylene or PET, which have slightly different densities that PE. Other factors are that depending on where the

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Nurdle ID Chart

Yes Nurdle, No Nurdle

December 10, 2019

Have you heard people talking about nurdles? Nurdles are tiny plastic pellets used as the raw material to make almost everything plastic, and they are washing up on shorelines, floating down rivers, and accumulating in lakes and along railroads? The pellets are made and stored in large silos, then blown into railcars, trucks, or put in Gaylord sacks or large bags where they are shipped all over the country, and world. The nurdles are small and light weight, which makes them hard to contain. When loading and offloading the nurdles, they can fall out on the ground. During transportation

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Nurdle Patrol

Nurdle Patrol, One Year Later

December 6, 2019

One year ago, Mission-Aransas Reserve wanted to monitor the movement of nurdles (plastic pellets) around the beaches of the Texas Coastal Bend after a spill of nurdles was found in late September 2018. The goal was to see how far the nurdles had spread, how long the nurdles would be around, and removing the pellets from the beach so animals could not eat them. The interest to monitor the nurdles by citizens was so great, that groups in every state, and Mexico, along the Gulf started conducting 10 minute surveys to document nurdle concentrations along shorelines. One year later there

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Annual Aransas National Wildlife Rescue Cleanup - October 5th

October 3, 2019
The 2019 Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) clean-up needs volunteers to help remove trash from the shorelines on October 5th, 2019. The Whooping Cranes will be arriving at the Refuge around mid-October and our goal is to help clean the area before they arrive.

The Mission-Aransas NERR is partnering with ANWR again to recruit volunteers and help out with this great event. We will meet at the Fulton Harbor at approximately 7:30am, and depart on the Skimmer at 8am, returning at approximately 2pm, with lunch provided.

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Jace Tunnell nurdles launched and ready for your data

October 2, 2019

The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute just launched a new interactive mapping website that allows citizen scientists to add plastic pellet (nurdles) data into a mapping system to show where the highest concentrations of nurdles are being found across the U.S. and Mexico., Nurdles are small plastic pellets that are the raw material to almost everything made of plastic, and they are

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Mission-Aransas NERR is Hiring!

August 15, 2019

The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve at UTMSI is hiring two full time positions, including a Coastal Training Program (CTP) Coordinator and a Stewardship Assistant (Research Scientist Assistant).

  • The CTP Coorinator will address critical coastal management issues and is responsible for designing, implementing and managing the National Estuarine Research Reserve’s comprehensive Coastal Training Program. This position will host trainings and workshops with coastal managers throughout the year.
  • The Stewardship Assistant will
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