Bringing a special monkey madness Fred Happy Eyes has traveled to the Queensland Sunshine Coast to walk, talk, teach and swing into action for ocean protection.
Visiting from Marrowstone Island, Washington, and his second home in Hawaii, he was most impressed with Caloundra TurtleCare volunteers who watch carefully each night and morning for any turtles that have come to lay eggs.
Volunteers record all information and ensure that the nests are protected from foxes. Fred was happy to see new nests as many turtle "friends suffer from fatal sore tummies." Turtles find it hard to tell the difference between seajellies, a favourite food, and plastic bags. "Ouchie!!" said Fred.
Fred's frisky banter reminds us how much pollution affects animals. In rememberance he wears an Albatross bird band and, as noted in his interview below, Albatross are one of many birds that mistake plastic pieces for food.
Read about zany Fred's adventures on his blog SOAR. He visits schools around the world and helps his special friend Ron with Serious Sand studies! If you'd like him to visit your school send an email to Ron Hirschi.
IN DEPTH INTERVIEW with FRED HAPPY EYE
JODY: Fred is a Happy Eyed Monkey, a rare and endangered species in the USA. Fred travels the world as an ambassador for the ocean.
FRED: Me, Fred the Monkey am so happy now sleep in warm Australia and be with fun new friend, Jody. You make me smile.
JODY: Welcome, Fred! Oooooopppsy!!
(Crash boom bang…muttering under breath…”what great Galah left that banana skin on the floor?”) Ha ha…very funny Fred.
FRED: Okay. Awake to be up with papaya and banana smoothie and talk story over questions --- ask away!!!
JODY: You are quite a busy celebrity so thanks for granting this interview while you visit the Sunshine Coast of Queensland Australia. Getting straight to the point, your young fans all want to know what your favourite colour is?
FRED: My favorite color. Easy being GREEN. You know song? I teach to Kermit. He got way wrong.
Q: Have you ever seen a game of Aussie Rules football? Do you have a favourite sport?
FRED: Woah! No, I always want to see Aussie rule. Tough scrambling. We get to see game? My favsport Monkey rules Baseball. Gotta catch ball in bare paw.
Q: Do you find the paparazzi a problem?
FRED: Paparazzi follow us here you know. Everywhere. Worse for sister Coco. She going to Law School now and gotta have guard when at class! She study endanger ocean law at UH Hilo.
Q: Where did you get that unusual necklet?
FRED: You know. Glad you ask. Nice way saying --- how you say, Necklet? We say Lei. My lei is like one girls have on at CSG. But they got special red -- little silver piece is official leg band from Albatross.
My friend, John Klaviiter, biologist way nice special man help all life on planet....he gift me, Fred with band because of work I do with Pihemanu and friends, Albatross.
Me, Fred gift girls at CSG with leg bands from Albatross because of them doing same, as we say, they Malama i ke Kai ame ka aina --- They young girls but malama (protect) ocean (kai) and land (aina) . You be watching mailbox for lei for you too!
You know, CSG girls only girls on whole planet earth with such special lei. Gift from great soaring bird, Albatross, most magnificent bird of ocean. They first wear little band on leg, gift of friend John. They fly and raise family (ohana) then when die as all life die, John give band after he know story of each bird.
Q: Is it too difficult if I ask you how long Happy Eye monkeys have been an endangered species?
FRED: Mmmmmmmm. Okay. Now I tell you Happy Eye Monkey story. Okay too. Albatross story kinda same. Happy Eye Monkey Ohana live in original homeland of Pacific Northwest Rain Forest. Tall tall trees, tall as American Rules Football Field is long, plus end zone!!!! Big.
We live in harmony centuries with S'Klallam People. My buddy Ron work with them now on their history book!!! Many S'Klallam friends same relative as when my Monkey Eyes live still there............but then people come from place called State of Maine. Build big sawmill.
Cut down all trees and no time at all (In Happy Eye Time) sister Joni have to be dialed up to sing song about all trees now in Tree Museum. Gotta have trees for Happy Eyes. So, one day, my Great Great Grandpa and Grandma hopped a little boat. Heard story on dock from man name Kahale. He play fun ukulele and talk banana and surf and warm and big fun trees with red flower in place call Kaua'i..........
Truth time. Me, Fred, I say I'm from Pacific Northwest, but you know. I born in Hanapepe down by the salt ponds. I grew up in wettest rainforest on Earth! Not so wet now........but that different story. Happy Eye Monkey now of offishall list Endanger Animal. But you know. Our aina taken away. Gotta have aina like gotta have kai.
Q: Have you ever known an Albatross well enough to hitch a ride?
FRED: Oh boy. You ask about closeness to Albatross. I ask Ron send photo of my good friends on Pihemanu. Lotta time good with albatross and not supposed tell friend John so much.....I fly one day out maybe one hundred miles with one Laysan and one Blackfoot.......just above waves, they can just glide along you know. Smooth ride. That how come we say SOAR. You will see.
Q: We’ve heard about your beach cleaning efforts in Hawaii and in the State of Washington, what makes you do it?
FRED: mmmmmmmmm.Very hard tell this story. You ask about beach cleanup. Why? I ask Ron send photo of Albatross Grave. Can not walk to sacred place without action. Hundreds and hundreds. You touch my lei, you touch this place of sadness for all ocean life on planet earth. Albatross, like in photo of me at home wearing X310........we pick up trash in memory of X310 and all magnificent albatross who die from plastic.
Mom and Dad Albatross accidentally pick up trash when feeding on ocean. You know. Ocean full of lighters, toothbrush, toy, bottle caps......and when parent bird feed baby, many baby die. Can not get plastic out throat. Sometime plastic poke hole in stomach. Sad and hard talk. Gotta say. My way cool teacher friend, Paula Vertikoff. She help me much with this. She share all my story from Pihemanu with her sons. She say, they can handle story.
Q: Columbia School for Girls said you helped them create a game about the Great Lakes in the USA. What are your plans for Aussie students?
FRED: I hope Aussie students be inspire by Leslie, Meera, Evelyn and all girls you see in my journal. Like CSG girls, maybe kiddos make new kind of game. Maybe go clean beach. Maybe make poster, PLASTIC FREE FRIDAY??? Maybe bring Fred banana and not toss to Saltie?
Most important, you know. Gotta have fun and find way to bring laugh on all faces, albatross too. So maybe Aussie kids find way to help Aussie ocean life. What kind Albatross live down under??? You got humpback whale swim wrong way too..... you know about that? Hawaii whales swim north to south to have baby. Aussie whales swim south to north. My whale buddies want meet Aussies, but not swim same water same time. Can kids paddle out on board, turn whales around?
Q: I suppose your friends in the USA will be wondering if it feels funny being ‘downunder’-- upside down?
FRED: Funny we talk whale swimming wrong way. Me, Fred the Monkey feel funny down under but yuo ask if it funny to me, Fred to be upside down.......I always upside down. monkey do that real good you know. Turn frown of people into sorta smile you know!! That why monkey be upside down lotta time. People gotta smile.
Q: We note that your manager, Ron Hirschi, has invited teachers to email questions direct to him. Does that take the stuffing out of you?
FRED: You ask about my buddy Ron wanting teachers to send questions to him. He not even have time answer anything. You know, I get stay with him a lotta time......he mostly fish, go surf, walk dog on beach. Okay, he pick up trash on beach but he go there for FUN. He take nap too and talk story with all his fishing friend like Ray and Denny and old guys like that. You should ask teachers to throw all his books out window.
Q: Were you a good student?
FRED: Me good student? Oh my.......I got nice note from teacher Ted George other day. He remember me as best at learning about season and being help to others to share each one. We got Sockeye Season (time to catch salmon), blackberry season (gottat know how to find berry and make good pie without dough breaking apart you know)and apple season (Me, Fred the Monkey get A for climbing highest in all of class to get apple for neighbor cows and pie too)...Yep, good student. You know. I like to read too. Ron make me read his books.......my favorites are fish identification books by good friend John Hoover.
JODY: Gosh darn it, Fred. Thank you so much for sharing your story. We'll look forward to hearing more about your adventures.