April 2014 President's Message

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If it Looks like a Duck…Tim Shell

What comes to mind when you think of “rubber duckies”?  I’m sure almost everyone thinks of the cute little yellow ducks floating in the bathtub with a child who is enjoying bath time.  Some of you may think of the multiple “looks” these floating toys take on when handed out as advertising items at a conference.  My favorite was a “road-worker ducky” complete with hard hat and vest.  Many of you have also seen the advertising campaign from the City of San Diego Storm Water program with the slogan “Think Blue San Diego”, where they use thousands of rubber duckies to represent pollution in our urban runoff.  It is quite a sight to see all the rubber ducky “pollution” floating downstream toward the ocean, and the surfer is surprised to see what is floating next to him!  It leaves quite an impression on you, doesn’t it?

Did you ever wonder why San Diego picked rubber duckies to represent trash and pollution in our waterways and oceans?  I can’t say I know for sure, but I can say I found a plausible explanation recently.  I happened to come across an article a few weeks ago describing a time when nearly 29,000 plastic bath toys that were lost at sea in 1992, when a shipping crate containing them fell overboard on its way from Hong Kong to the northwest United States.   Somehow the cargo container opened, and a flotilla of yellow ducks, green frogs, red beavers, and blue turtles headed out on an extraordinary voyage, one which would take them to exotic destinations to where the toys would land along Pacific Ocean shores, like Alaska, Hawaii, South America, Australia, and the Pacific Northwest. Others would travel over 17,000 miles, floating to see the site where the Titanic sank near Newfoundland in the Atlantic, and some would spend years frozen in Arctic ice to finally reach the British Isles.  You can refer to the article I read at the following website:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendly_Floatees

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