Published on March 9th, 2015 | by Rachel Ervin


Washed ashore: Kon Tiki and a discussion of lost debris

Just as concerns of radiation reaching us from the Fukushima disaster waned, a giant piece of concrete parked itself on the shores of the Olympic National Forest just outside Forks, Washington, in December 2012. It was a fishing dock from the Aomori Prefecture in Japan, and was unhinged from its native land by the same earthquake and tsunami that caused the nuclear reactor explosions.

Photo from Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Photo from Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Along with the fear of radiation exposure, the question of what else may have hitched a ride from Japan arose. What happens when new species are introduced to our shores in this way? And what can we do to curb the possible damage to our delicate ecosystems?

The Grand Cinema will be hosting an event this month that explores these questions with Olympic National Park Coastal Ecologist Steven Fradkin. Following the screening of the 2013 Oscar-nominated film Kon Tikiabout the 1947 anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl’s crossing of the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft – Fradkin will host a discussion about the effects of that Japanese dock washing ashore, as well as other debris that we find along our coasts.

This evening at the Grand is part of their Science on Screen series, an initiative funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, of which The Grand Cinema is in its second year as a grantee (read our write-up on the series here). Other films in the series have included Life of Pi and 12 Monkeys.

Come with questions, watch a film, leave informed (and have some popcorn, too); sounds like a perfect night at the Grand.

When: March 16th, 6:45pm

Where: The Grand Cinema, 606 S. Fawcett Ave, 98402

Tickets are between $5.00 and $9.50 and can be purchased online at, at their box office, or by calling 253-593-4474.

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About the Author

Rachel Ervin

Co-Managing Editor, freelancer of everything, UWTacoma alumna, parent, partner, lover of beans. You can follow her thoughts on feminist weather patterns @RacheErvKorbski.

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