Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Trashy Whale, Unveiled!

San Diego Surfrider RAP activist Heather Benson recently informed me that a group of first graders (that she had made a beach and watershed presentation to) were constructing a life-size whale out of plastic trash that they've found on the beach. "That's great!", I said, but I was really thinking, "...yeah, sure". Nice to know that I've been found wrong again!

One hundred and thirty (130!) Jefferson Elementary School (Carlsbad, CA) first grade students worked for five and a half months to create the art piece that is currently on display at their school, and which will travel to nearby Sea Life Aquarium (and beyond, just ask!) for an extended stay. Sea Life helped the project along with a $750 donation - sweet!

I came to the February 18th event with an open mind, and was b-l-o-w-n-a-w-a-y. The unveiling was standing-room-only and featured speeches, songs, THE BAG MONSTER!, free RAP canvas bags for the parents, cheering, photos, hugs and more. The baby-whale sized mural features everything from a set of dentures to surfboard leashes - a real eye-opener into the stuff we use everyday being presented back to us...hmmm... See photos from the event here. Check the student's blog of the effort here.

The students were guided and inspired not only by Heather, but by their teacher, Arlene Gnade, and local "gARTbage" artist, Teresa Espaniola. Bottom line: This type of connection with the growing minds of children is very important in our efforts to save the waves - the kids get it, they know that the problem of beach trash must be solved, and neatly "up-teach" their parents on the matter.

Bravo Jefferson Elementary!