Written by Meghan Ballard, SOLVE Green Team Program Coordinator
In addition to their WEEKLY outings to restore Willow Creek, the outstanding students and teachers from Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School have been hard at work on a special project for us this spring. They made a very creative and very educational “float” for the PGE/SOLVE Starlight Parade out of litter!
Students first learned about litter in our waterways back in December from Gina(SOLVE). Students learned about marine debris and how 80% of trash in the ocean is land-based from areas just like Willow Creek. We talked about the ways plastic can harm and kill marine wildlife and how it does not biodegrade, it only photodegrades and breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces. We talked about the way we try to rise above plastics in our every day lives. Students use tuperware instead of plastic sandwich bags, have reusable water bottles, bring their own mugs to coffee shops, buy music online instead of CDs, and steer clear of plastic utensils, plates, and cups.
In December students cleaned up litter at Willow Creek to rid their waterway of plastics and other garbage that could end up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We found a ton of really interesting trash: tennis balls, metal stakes, plastic bags, and soda bottles.
Students then took that litter, cleaned it up, sorted it by color, and then designed and constructed a float for our SOLVE truck! The theme was a river of trash, complete with fish, a waterfall coming out of a recycle bin and a beaver with a dam! Students also created educational signs to carry during the parade so parade goers would know all about the float and why they created it.
Students got to walk with the float once before the parade and at the very end! You could hear comments from the crowd about the litter and you could literally hear the education happening! We also got to say hi and got shouts of encouragement from Green Team students from other schools in the crowd including, Mountain View MIddle School and Gladstone High School! Way to unite Green Teamers!
We can’t thank you enough Rachel Carson Middle School for your hard work and dedication to this project!!!