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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Norwalk, California, USA

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Norwalk, California, USA
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Natalieh8301



Registered: March 2019
City/Town/Province: Norwalk
Posts: 1
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"Our art is trashy"
Last year I was enrolled in AP Environmental Science, which exposed me to various new issues and concepts. In this course, I learned about Laysan Albatrosses, a species of bird currently devastated by trash in the ocean. These birds mistake small plastics and bottle caps for food. The indigestible caps sit in their stomachs, causing impaction until they die. After further investigating, I discovered bottle caps are not recyclable. Since then the discovery lingered in the back of my mind. Recently, I began removing the caps before recycling bottles, but after a few weeks, I was stuck with a bag full of caps. I knew there had to be some alternative use for them.
Dumping the caps onto my desk, I noticed shapes and patterns, resembling flowers and faces. That's when I realized the potential for caps to be used as art. I consulted my teacher about my idea and with her help, I recruited a group of students eager to make a difference. With additional help from the special education department, we collected 350+ caps around campus within a week.
The albatross deaths are not the result of maliciousness, but instead ignorance, making it important to educate people, especially younger children. I began contacting local elementary schools in the hopes of being able to showcase educational presentations about caps. I sent lesson plans to them and soon heard back from a few interested groups.
The students we presented to were really engaged, constantly asking questions. As part of our presentation, we showed posters depicting the effects of caps in the ocean. Once finished, we shared examples of an environmentally conscious alternative, which featured my artwork. Then, we provided the students with glue, paper, and caps, and let them create whatever they desired. The results were amazing as they created pictures and sculptures. One kindergartener commented, "our art is trashy", which still makes me chuckle to this day.
After this experience I realized how much I enjoyed educating others, and one day I hope to be both an educator and advocate for global change. Weeks later, I found out that the students began collecting their own caps and teaching others how to make art. I saw how one idea can spark a big change in a community. Yes, our art is trashy, and that's so the ocean won't be.
Date: March 21, 2019 Views: 630 File size: 10.6kb, 41.0kb : 512 x 288
Hours Volunteered: 55
Volunteers: 4
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 to 18
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