Rubber ducks are not just for bath time anymore

Catch Basins

The goal is to get people to recognize that the water that falls on their property doesn’t stay on their property and that as it runs off, it picks up pollution and carries that directly into our water,” said Jami Fitch, stormwater outreach manager for the Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District (Windham, Maine).  The rubber ducks represent various types of stormwater pollution such as trash, pet waste, and lawn chemicals. “It’s so hard to see nonpoint source pollution, so the rubber ducks created that visual image of the pollution,” Fitch said.

Source:  Water Environment Federation , 2014

If Stormwater Pollution Was Rubber Duckies
If Runoff Looked like a Rubber Duck
 Help Stop the Rubber Duckies!

2. Rubber Ducks can also help us understand ocean currents.

In 1992, a cargo ship container tumbled into the North Pacific, dumping 28,000 rubber ducks, nicknamed “The Friendly Floaties” that were headed from Hong Kong to the United States.

Oceanographers began studying their journey six months after the accident to gain information about the turbulent nature of currents.  In his book “Moby Duck”, Donovan Hohn traces the 20-year voyage of these rubber ducks, which crossed high seas and freezing terrain to end up on various shores, including Hawaii, Alaska and America’s Pacific north-west.  

Giant Rubber Duck Attracts Attention and Dollars to Toronto Waterfront

 Standing at nearly 19 metres and weighing in at 13,600 kilograms, “Mama Duck” was prominently displayed on Lake Ontario during the 2017 Redpath Waterfront Festival.

A report released following the festival found that the duck was an economic boon for the city. The 2017 festival saw an economic impact of $7.6 million and $3.6 million in tax revenue as a result of the 750,000 attendees that came to see the duck.

Source:  The Star, 2020

When Thousands of Rubber Ducks Were Accidentally Dumped into the Ocean
The epic journey of plastic ducks
Giant rubber duck floats in Toronto for festival


Submit your Rubber Duck story to The Watermark Project.

The Watermark Project is a community effort to collect and archive true stories about the ways people interact with water. These stories help us all recognize our dependence on water and highlight water’s influence on our culture. By saving and studying these stories, we help protect the waters we love.

Share a favorite rubber duck story you’ve experienced in a waterbody or watershed  in story, poem or picture format.  

Learn more about Marine Ducks

 “As the name implies, sea ducks are adapted to life at sea. With most spending a considerable portion of the year along our coasts, the majority of these birds breed in northern areas such as the Canadian Arctic and Alaska. King eiders will even remain in frigid waters during the winter, staying as far north as the open water will allow. This is possible because they have special adaptations for life in cold environments, such as thick fluffy down with supreme insulation properties and unusual veins and arteries in their legs that warm the cool blood before it is returned to the body.”

“Sea ducks are well adapted for life at sea. For instance, their bills are highly specialized—from the heavy, stout bills of eiders, which feed on marine mussels, to the long, narrow, serrated bills of mergansers, which are used for catching and eating fish. As you might imagine, finding such food requires superb diving skills. Indeed, sea ducks are among the most accomplished divers of all waterfowl, with some reportedly diving to depths of 180 feet.”

Source:  Ducks Unlimited

Learn more about the different species of  marine and Canadian Arctic ducks!

Rubber Ducks teach kids about the value of clean water.  Download the Wendell the Duck’s Guide to Water Quality.

Wendell The Duck shows kids how to work together to take care of our waterways!

Wendell the Duck’s Guide to Water Quality | Water Education Group

OPTIONAL – Other (mediocre) ideas for kids:

a. Write a story. Provide rubber ducks in the writing center and encourage children to write duck stories. What sort of adventures could the rubber duck have? What is the duck’s name?

b. Learn about buoyancy. What does it mean to float or sink? Encourage children to predict what will happen to ducks that are filled with water or have denser materials attached.

Stewardship resources: Sackville River = get close with annual events



  • Sponsors -Halifax harbour bridges

  • Sponsors - CBCL
  • Sponsors - Develop Novascotia
  • Sponsors - Halifax
  • Sponsors - Nova scotia Public Interest Research Group
  • Sponsors - Sackville Rivers Association