This week the Environmental Science students and Ms. Riley’s Art History students collaborated with organizers from Salem Sound Coastwatch and Tidal Shift, an organization creating large-scale, community created, public art installations on the North Shore to communicate the negative impact of plastic bag pollution in the oceans. Tidal Shift organizers hope to draw attention to the ill effects of plastic bags and to influence the upcoming ordinance vote in Beverly banning single-use plastic bags. Students created jellyfish that will be part of a larger art installation at the Beverly Arts Fest on Saturday, June 16th. During the workshop, students solidified their understanding of the harmful effects of plastic trash and how plastic bags are often ingested by marine life. For instance, sea turtles often mistake the plastic for jellyfish. Students watched a video mounted on a sea turtle and were surprised by how similar a jellyfish and plastic bags in the ocean look.
Earlier in the year, Environmental Science students identified plastic pollution in the oceans as an urgent and particularly troubling environmental issue, with multiple students delivering projects on plastic pollution, the North Pacific garbage patch, and alternative ways to dispose of or recycle plastic trash. In preparation for the art project, students found the number of plastic bags one community could easily accumulate staggering.