Students in Lockport are learning about the impacts of plastic pollution in our waterways, and created eye-opening works of art during those lessons.
If you walk up to George Southern Elementary School, you’ll be greeted by about 30 sea animals made out of plastic water bottle caps.
“Ocean animals are getting killed because they’re swallowing plastic that’s getting dumped into the ocean,” Marin Connor said, a student at the elementary school.
Each class at George Southern created an animal. The school houses K through 4th grade.
“It’s even deforming turtle shells,” Matthew Rosenberg said, another student.
Included in the display is a bag of water bottle caps. There are 1,500 caps in the bag, which represents how many water bottles we drink every second in the U.S.
The project was started by the student council supervisor, Debby Yager.
“We’ve done a lot with recycling this year, so I started looking for what we could do, and just happened to be that the United Nations, this whole past year had plastic pollution as their awareness,” Yager said.
Yager taught the young students all about plastic waste, over the past two months.
“There are five ocean garbage patches,” Rosenberg said. “The biggest one is between California and Hawaii. It is bigger than Texas… twice the size of Texas.”
And the students aren’t just learning… they’re doing.
“One mom this morning just stopped me and said, ‘My daughter is going through the recycling bin trying to figure out what she can pull that we can reuse,'” Yager said.
“My sister started using metal straws, because plastic ones are getting in turtle’s noses,” Rosenberg said.
Several other schools in the Lockport School District are participating as well. Emmet Belknap Intermediate School created a display in their cafeteria. Charles A. Upson Elementary School will put their display outside soon. And North Park Junior High School collected plastic spoons and forks to make water lilies and fans, which were inspired by Monet paintings.