This song is based on a real whale rescue
recounted in a book by John Himmelman, Ibis: A True Whale
Story. Driftnets are nearly invisible nets that stretch for
miles underwater. Sometimes they break loose from a fishing
boat. They may continue to drift for years, unseen but deadly.
Many fish, sea turtles, sharks, and dolphins become entangled
in these nets and die. Even great whales.
I first learned about Ibis from Alex Trovillion,
age six. Someday he hopes to live in a world without driftnets,
a world where all whales are safe. Thanks to Alex for telling
me about Ibis, and to everyone who works to rescue and understand
young friend once told me about a great whale
Whose friends called her Ibis, now this is her tale
It all really happened just a few years ago
The starfish were there so they know...
Ibis the whale, Ibis the whale
Will you rise through the water and breathe in the air
Ibis the whale, Ibis the whale
The starfish and I are your friends
One day Ibis saw some fish acting strange
All crowded together and twisted in pain
She couldnt see the net till it caught her the same
Would she ever reach the surface again... Chorus
She broke through the net though some
clung to her fins
It tore at her mouth, cut deep into her skin
Other whales tried to help her but what could they do
The net was too tough to chew through... Chorus
Then people in boats tried to cut the
But Ibis was scared, as she struggled to breathe
Till the hands in the water began to remind her
Of the arms of the starfish... she held still a long time...
And finally... they undid the lines
They cried when they saw she was fine
And said No more drift nets... next time!
Now Ibis the whale, Ibis the whale
Swims free in the water and breathes in the air
Ibis the whale, yes Ibis the whale
The starfish and I are your friends The starfish and I... are your friends
this song fits in with a unit on oceans and whales. It also
ties in nicely with Steve Schuchs workshop and book,
A Symphony of Whales,
and his Whale Trilogy violin piece.
Sonar and Echolocation: How do these
work? How do people and animals depend on these? Why are
scientists concerned about the effects powerful new kinds
of sonar may have on whales and other marine life?
What are the differences between traditional
subsistence hunting and modern factory fishing fleets? How
has new technology, such as sonar, invisible drift nets,
and large scale bottom trawling, impacted marine life? How
has technology changed us?
How is the idea of balance, of taking
only enough, still important in our modern world?
What are some current challenges facing
a local fishery in your area (salt or fresh water)?
Whale & Ocean Activities
in pods, have groups of students present a brief
report on different species of whales. Include where theyre
found, what they eat, and a haiku or whale drawing.
Create class murals or art projects with
whales and ocean themes.
Whale Yarns: using yarn or long lengths
of clothesline, make life sized outlines of different kinds
of whales, either in school gym or outdoors.
Whale Watch: go out for a first hand
encounter with whales and the sea.
Whales Songs: listen to recordings of
whales songs, and human songs that include whales.
Coastal Day: visit the coast, study tide
pools and plankton, do a beach cleanup. If you dont
live near the ocean, is there another lake or river where
you could give something back by cleaning up
a part of the shoreline?
Shanty Sing: learn some traditional sea
shanties to sing for other classes (or for Steve when he
Additional Activities (included as part of Steve Schuchs
workshop on whales)
Whale Pod simulation of
Bone Conduction demonstration
with whale volunteers and a tuning fork... how
sound travels vast distances underwater and is heard not
only through whales ears, but also via bone conduction.