Litter isn’t cool…but litter ART is!

Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest Americorps members Nicole Poletto and Lauren McKenna

Clackamas Middle College @ Phillips Creek on 4.11.2013

On their monthly outings, Clackamas Middle College couldn’t help but notice all of the trash that continually littered Phillips Creek.  On one sunny day, they dedicated the entire day to a litter clean up and collected 500 pounds of trash!  We washed off some of the trash that we found and turned it into art!

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The students made 3 distinct works of art made from the litter they found at the creek behind their school.

“Aquatic trash; Trash isn’t always this scenic!” An aquatic scene made out of items such as Christmas tree lights, Solo cups, styrofoam, and food wrappers.

“Ode to Litter: not a black and white issue” – An assortment of litter found in the creek such as sandals, straws, food wrappers, energy drinks, lighters, and toys to discourage littering!

“The Path of Trash” – This board depicts a trash along a highway that has washed into the creek, demonstrating that litter in our watershed can make its way out to the ocean!  It was made with fire truck and motorcycle toys found at the creek, plastic bottles, cans, and wrappers!

These works of art can now be used to educate the community about why it is important to reduce our use of plastics! They can help build awareness that some of our waste and litter ends up in our creeks, rivers and eventually makes its way out to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the middle of the ocean.  Who knew our trash could have such a powerful message?!

We not only made beautiful masterpieces that day, we also reflected on the year as a whole and wrote articles about Phillips creek.  These articles will be featured in a newsletter distributed to the community to explain why we steward Phillips Creek and all the hard work we have been doing there.  Our native plants also needed our help to battle invasive Reed Canary grass that was beginning to shade them out!  So we cut the grass away from the natives and mulched 50 plants to help suppress the grass, add more nutrients to the soil, and help our native plants retain water.  That way they can grow big and strong and defeat their invasive enemy.

Thank you Clackamas Middle College for your dedication to creating awareness and making Phillips Creek healthier for generations to come.

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