Skip to main content
Press Release

JASON Learning Partners with VIMS for Beyond the Plastic Bottle Challenge

By August 19, 2021No Comments


The collaboration will encourage students to develop solutions for minimizing microplastic damage to the environment, starting at the source of production

ASHBURN, VA – AUGUST 19, 2021 – This week, JASON Learning announced its partnership with VIMS, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, for the Beyond the Plastic Bottle Challenge. The Challenge will see teams of students create a sustainable plan that reduces the debris associated with one microplastic source of pollution in their community.

The Challenge is inspired by research being done at VIMS and highlights the work of the Challenge STEM role model, Meredith Evans Seely, a PhD candidate and Freeman Family Fellow at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary. STEM—short for science, technology, engineering, and math—is a curriculum based on an applied approach to educating students in these four disciplines.

Seely said, “Most people are aware of the damage that plastic does to the environment. Those same people are probably aware of the dangers that water bottles and plastic straws pose to nature. But something that a lot of people don’t think about are microplastics: tiny pieces of plastic that either break down from or break off of larger pieces, which then pollute filtration systems and eventually find their way into our food supply when fish and other animals accidentally eat them.”

The challenge will gather students, grades 6-12, and have them get involved in their communities through creative, science-informed problem solving. This ties in directly with the principles of JASON Learning.

“Jason is honored to partner with VIMS,” President Eleanor Smalley said, “We are looking forward to seeing the real-world solutions that students develop, lending to the mission of micro-plastic reduction. We’re also thrilled to have such a talented role model spearheading the competition and offering her knowledge on the subject.”

The challenge will be an ongoing campaign, encouraging student participation on a local level throughout the state of Virginia. Both organizations see the benefit of local solutions to problems that exist on a global scale. While there is no grand prize, JASON and VIMS will highlight participants with effective and creative ideas throughout the lifetime of this campaign. Students and teachers can share their progress using the hashtag #VIMSPlasticChallenge.

Information on how to participate is available online at


About JASON Learning

JASON is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1989 by Dr. Robert D. Ballard. JASON provides curriculum and learning experiences in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for K-12 students, and high-quality professional development for teachers. JASON has been used successfully in a wide variety of formal and informal education environments.

About VIMS

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science is one of the largest marine research and education centers in the United States. Founded in 1940, VIMS is unique among marine science institutions in its legal mandate to provide research, education, and advisory service to government, citizens, and industry. Graduate students in William & Mary’s School of Marine Science at VIMS have an unparalleled opportunity to conduct research that matters. Research at VIMS extends from inland watersheds to the open ocean, with an emphasis on coastal and estuarine science.