Lopez School Earth Day: Art for Marine Waste Education

posted in: Education, General | 0

This year, LSWDD partnered with Lopez School, the BLM, and Kwiaht for a unified effort of education around waste in our marine environment. Here is a video created by Teus Rabel, Lopez middle school student, of the beach trash mosaic created on Earth Day: Lopez School Earth Day Marine Waste Mosaic

Being on an island, Lopezians are both more concerned and aware of the trash that accumulates on our beaches. To that end, on March 12 the Lopez Community Trails Network did their first “Go Take a Hike” and invited volunteers to hike beaches together and pick up trash. Nick Teague of the BLM also did beach litter collections on Lopez and San Juan Islands, and that trash along with some beautifully cleaned and sorted trash from two other volunteers completed the beach trash treasures for the sculpture project by Lopez School students. The World Art Class was taught by Joe Behnke and Jaime Terada, and the students created three sculptures: a puffin, a sculpin, and a sea turtle to represent animals threatened by marine waste. The rest of the trash was used by the entire class to make a temporary trash mosaic. Students and teachers then engaged in a school wide dialogue about the causes of marine litter, and possible solutions to the problem. They learned about the efforts of Boyan Slat, a young man from the Netherlands. He headed up the largest ocean clean up ever attempted. To see Boyan’s TED talk, click here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROW9F-c0kIQ
To end the day, all the students and teachers participated in cleaning up the mosaic in a metaphoric action of cleaning our island and oceans and alas the trash was taken to the Lopez Island Dump to be discarded in a landfill.
Click here to see photos of the completed beach trash sculptures:
Atlantic Puffin
sea turtle

The Project Description by Joe Behnke:

Lopez students made these beach plastic sculptures in World Art Class. Inspired by the Washed Ashore Project of Bandon, Oregon, students chose marine organisms as their models: a sculpin, a sea turtle, and a puffin. Plastic beach debris were collected off local beaches during the month of March 2016 by volunteers and Nick Teague of BLM. Beaches included MacKaye Harbor, Odlin, Flat Point, Aleck Bay, and Cattle Point. Students counted and categorized each plastic object to get a sense for what kinds of plastics end up in the ocean (see the attached list). During Lopez Island School’s Earth Day Celebration, secondary students constructed a giant ground mural out of the truckload of plastics in which colorful plastic debris radiated off the shores of a giant map of Lopez Island. After the mural was constructed, students discussed environmental solutions and then cleaned-up the trash from the waters around the map. Cleaning up was a symbolic act of doing something to help in light of local pollution. When asked, “what does this mural of beach trash say about humankind?” one student responded that they are good at art. Humans are creative, just look at these sculptures built out of trash. Just look at the trash itself, these are all inventions—goods that are useful to humankind. Students offered solutions: invest in quality goods that will last a long time, reduce packaging, reduce our carbon footprint buy growing or buying local foods, learn to do without conveniences that are harmful to the environment.

An inventory of items collected from:
Flat Point, MacKaye Harbor, Aleck Bay, Odlin, and Cattle Point Plastic Debri Collection, March 2016

286 styrofoam bits
148 balls
143 lighters
118 unidentified hard plastics
109 crab pot bait containers
(103 toys all together (not itemized))
82 ropes
82 shotgun shell wads
81 lids/caps
81 Plastic film pieces
79 containers
60 candy wrappers
52 cups/drink bottles
44 plastic bags
42 pen/pencils
37 toy figurines
36 flip flops
29 shotgun shells
28 Penn Cove mussell disks
27 fish lures
24 toy shovels
21 crabpot floats
19 spoons, forks, knives
18 chewing tobacco containers
16 beach toys
15 paint brushes
14 toys
13 shoes
13 make-up (lipstuff)
12 gloves
12 straws
11 bobbers
11 toothbrushes
11 cooking utencils
10 piece of twine
8 big Styrofoam pieces for docks
8 fireworks
8 ribbons
8 fishing nets
6 spools
5 hair pins
5 handles
5 combs
5 chip bags
5 ear plugs
5 buckets
5 frisbees
4 balloons
3 badmitton birdies
3 dog toys
3 binkis
3 pvc pipes
3 pairs of glasses
3 cigar holders
2 helmets
2 scissors
2 lip balm
2 hats
2 signs
2 garbage can lids
2 sixpack plastic rings
1 broken arrow
1 strap
1 knife sheath
1 ornamental moon
1 shirt
1 epoxy syringe
1 deodorant
1 pair of earbuds
1 flashlight
1 screwdriver
1 life jacket
1 flipper
1 putty knife
1 boat keel fiberglass
1 floaty toy
1 medicine
1 speaker
1 note in a bottle from Vancouver BC
1 bungee chord
1 tarp
1 boat seat upholstery
1 umpire shin guard
1 boat bumper
1 boat seat cushion
1 swimming noodle