MELBOURNE, Australia – Oct. 9, 2018 –The Northrop Grumman Foundation and leading environmental education and youth leadership nonprofit EarthEcho International supported 25 Australian teachers (years 6-8) on an exploration of plastics and their impact on the ocean in the Melbourne area. Led by explorer and environmental advocate Philippe Cousteau, Jr., EarthEcho Expedition: PlasticSeas took place the week of Oct. 1, through the support of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. The initiative was part of EarthEcho Expeditions, an annual program that leverages the rich Cousteau legacy of exploration and discovery to bring STEM education alive for today’s learners and educators.

Northrop Grumman Foundation and Philippe Cousteau Jr.s EarthEcho International Brought Real World Science and Exploration to the Classroom with EarthEcho Expedition
Philippe Cousteau, Jr. (right), founder of EarthEcho International, helps an EarthEcho Expedition fellow use a quadrant to identify debris found on the beach.

“EarthEcho Expeditions provides educators with the opportunity to bring cutting-edge environmental science, solutions-focused resources into the classroom through exciting firsthand experiences that they can then share with students around the world,” said Philippe Cousteau, Jr., founder of EarthEcho International. “Solving the plastic pollution crisis is a critical environmental issue for communities worldwide. The resources created through EarthEcho Expedition: PlasticSeas will equip a new generation of environmental champions to create a brighter, more sustainable future starting in their own communities.”

The participating teachers - called EarthEcho Expedition Fellows – learned from Australian experts in science and engineering how communities are working to combat ocean plastics. EarthEcho Expedition: PlasticSeas explored the impact of plastic pollution on marine organisms, habitats and humans in real time. Now Expedition Fellows will participate in collaborative curriculum development of adventure-based STEM learning modules to accompany digital video resources recorded during the teachers’ expedition. These modules will introduce students worldwide to the innovative engineering and technology solutions helping remove ocean plastic pollution and provide alternatives to plastic use. During 2019, the EarthEcho Expedition: PlasticSeas modules that target years 6-8 classrooms will be distributed digitally to schools around the world at no cost through EarthEcho’s website.

EarthEcho Expedition: PlasticSeas Expedition Fellows explored a broad range of plastic-related issues and solutions including:

  • An examination of the local marine protected area with an in-water experience
  • An analysis of the impacts of plastics on humans and marine organisms, such as marine mammals and birds, including the iconic little blue penguins of Port Phillip Bay
  • An exploration of the technological and research-based solutions to urban plastic pollution issues

Selected from numerous submissions across Australia, the EarthEcho Expedition: PlasticSeas Expedition Fellows each have a passion for sharing STEM learning with their students. A full list of the 2018 Fellows and the schools they represent is below. More information on the teachers is available at the EarthEcho website.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with EarthEcho International, and expand the Expedition series to Australia,” said Sandra Evers-Manly, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of global corporate responsibility, and president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. “Northrop Grumman is committed to environmental stewardship and awareness. Oceans are fundamental to life on earth and this program supports our environmental goals and also our efforts to expand an interest in STEM globally.”

In addition to support from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, EarthEcho Expeditions: PlasticSeas was assisted by the following organizations who provided experts, resources and one-of-a kind educator experiences: Parks Victoria, Plastic Pollution Solutions, Tangaroa Blue, The Marine Mammal Foundation, Port Phillip EcoCentre, Melbourne Down Under, Sheree Marris, Sustainability Victoria, The Melbourne Zoo, Victoria University, Red Boats and the University of Tasmania.

EarthEcho International is a nonprofit organization founded on the belief that youth have the power to change our planet. Established by siblings Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau in honor of their father Philippe Cousteau Sr. and grandfather legendary explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, our mission is to inspire young people worldwide to act now for a sustainable future. EarthEcho’s programs are developed for and by youth and the educators and community leaders that support them. All of their resources are designed to equip new generations of leaders and problem solvers to identify and tackle environmental challenges in their own communities and beyond. For more information about EarthEcho International, visit

Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation are committed to expanding and enhancing the pipeline of diverse, talented STEM students globally. The organizations provide funding to sustainable STEM programs that span from preschool to high school and through collegiate levels, with a major emphasis on middle school students and teachers. In 2017, Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation continued outreach efforts by contributing over $20.4 million to STEM-related groups such as the Air Force Association (CyberPatriot), the REC Foundation (VEX Robotics), National Science Teachers Association, Great Minds in Stem (Viva Technology) and EarthEcho’s International EarthEcho Expeditions.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide. Please visit and follow us on Twitter, @NGCNews, for more information.

EarthEcho 2018 Expedition Fellows



School Name


Alysia Wood-Bradley


Sacred Heart College Geelong


Andre Chadzynski


Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar


Barbara Sing


John Tonkin College


Bronwyn Hocking


Kinglake Primary School


Chanaka Ruwandeniya


St Andrews Primary School


Elizabeth Booth


Rainworth State School


Franz Madler

Mt Eliza

Toorak College


Helen Gilmour

Acacia Ridge

Our Lady of Fatima School


Jack McPhee


St Spyridon College


Jessica Dunn

Middleton Grange

Thomas Hassall Anglican College


Judith Stutchbury


Kalkie State School


Katie Meyer


Port Melbourne Primary School


Kylie Kidd

Bentleigh East

Valkstone Primary School


Lara Pratt


Kincumber High School


LeAnn Hanson

Huskisson, New South Wales

Huskisson Public School

Librarian, 6

Magdalena Williams


Cheltenham Secondary College


Malin Frick

Surry Hills, NSW

Crown Street Public School


Marika Payne


Sacred Heart College


Nicole Sadler


St Aloysius Primary School


Peter Morgan


Cornish College


Rachael Tharle

Cranbourne (PostCode: 3977)

St Agatha's Primary School


Sally Buckland

Mount Evelyn

Birmingham Primary School


Sally Fisher


Cornish College


Shireen VanBuskirk

Aspendale Gardens

Heatherton Christian College


Victor Toufas


Preshil The Margaret Lytlle Memorial School


 2018 Mentors:




Susan Tate

Michigan, US

Whitehall Middle School


Kathryn Cohen

California, US

Medea Creek Middle School