By Valerie Lecoeur

Local Mompreneur, Valerie Lecoeur, continues to amaze me.  If you missed her previous Mom on the Move profile you can read it here.  Not only is she an incredible mother, but she is an amazing advocate for taking care of our earth.  Valerie recently told me about a trip that she is going to take where she will spend 22 days on the sea away from her family and completely out of her comfort zone.  The coolest thing about her trip is the fact that we can ALL learn from it.  Adults and children alike will be able to follow her journey through her blog.

If you are near your television this morning, be sure to tune in to Fox 8 Morning News at 9:30am.  Shannon Smith will be talking live with Valerie about her upcoming voyage and discussing ways that we can encourage our children to take responsibility for future of our planet.  I hope you are inspired by Valerie’s article that you will read below … ~ Rachel    

My voyage to witness firsthand what few on the planet have seen: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
On May 1st, I’ll be embarking on the trip of a lifetime: Taking part in a scientific expedition studying plastic pollution in the “Western Pacific Garbage Patch”. Our 72-foot sailboat, The Sea Dragon, will depart the island of Majuro, in the Marshall Islands, and cover about 2,433 nautical miles over 22 days on the way to Tokyo. (For someone who gets seasick easily, the trip alone represents a personal challenge.)

Like all of us who spend time at the beach, I’ve witnessed plastic pollution firsthand. My own personal obsession, however, started several years ago, when I began doing “Trash & Treasure Hunts” at the beach with our three young children. Inevitably, we’d find more trash than treasure (though, with young kids, sometimes they’re one and the same). Over time, it upset me more and more to see so much man-made debris, especially plastic, washed up on our beautiful beaches. Fortunately I was able to channel my anger into creative energy, and “The Idea” hit me: Last summer, my company, Zoë b Organic, launched the world’s first biodegradable beach toys.

Made from corn, our Fantastic Anti-Plastic beach toys will completely biodegrade in 2-3 years if washed out to sea. (Compare that with 500+ years for the average plastic water bottle, which even then only breaks down into smaller, toxic bits.) As both a business owner and a mom, I’m now on a mission: Anytime I go to the beach, I make a point of taking a long walk and picking up garbage. So this trip to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the next logical step for me: I want to go right to the epicenter of the problem!

valerie.jpgI think both children and adults need to look at trash in a different way. When you see trash on the street, or on the beach, it’s not somebody else’s trash–it becomes yours. Pick it up. Because if somebody sees you pick up trash, maybe next time they step over an empty bottle, they’ll will pick it up and put it in the recycle bin. Trash is also harmful to wildlife (see picture). It’s important for children to see that our actions have very real consequences.When I come back from my trip, I plan on sharing what I’ve learned with kids in the Triad through presentations in our local schools. I want to make sure our youngsters understand that our trash in central North Carolina can affect our oceans—through our watershed, a plastic bottle on the street in Winston Salem may end up in the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, it’s estimated that land-based sources are responsible for up to 80% of marine debris.I’m excited about my upcoming adventure, and I hope you’ll follow my blog from the Pacific, starting May 1st on our facebook page and website.  If you want to learn more about plastic pollution in our oceans visit and* The photo above with the boat is pollution on the Yadkin River.

If you are interested in having Valerie speak to the children at your school when she returns home, you may email her at