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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

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Earth Day Art Contest: Trash in Our Oceans

EPA Celebrates Earth Day with Marine Debris Art Contest Winners

Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld presents certificates to student artists at the April 21 reception.

In celebration of Earth Day 2011, EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region sponsored a student art contest with the theme of “Trash in Our Oceans.” Over 200 local Bay Area students from grades K-12 submitted highly creative works of art depicting the problem of ocean debris. The students’ drawings, paintings, posters and three dimensional works used various media including found or recycled materials. 

"Every piece of art was beautiful and inspiring," said Bill Glenn, chief of EPA's Environmental Information Office for the Pacific Southwest and a contest organizer.  "It was difficult for the judges to narrow the field to 25 — let alone five grand prize winners — given the extraordinary quality of the students' work."

A reception honoring the 25 finalists was held on April 21 at the Pacific Southwest Office of EPA in San Francisco. Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld presented awards to all the winning artists and their teachers and announced the grand prize winners in five categories.  The reception was attended by the artists, their families and teachers, as well as local leaders in the art, environmental and education communities.

Marine debris is a global concern, and the expressive art produced by the students highlights the environmental problems caused by waste in our oceans.  Increasingly, plastics and trash generated on land are washing into our oceans and threatening wildlife. One striking example is the “great Pacific Ocean garbage patch,” an immense area between Hawaii and the western U.S. where small bits of plastic littering the sea are often mistaken for food by marine creatures. Many of the winning artworks are very inventive in their use of recycled objects and actual debris found on beaches.

The grand prize winner in the 3-5th grade category was submitted by Emma Jennison, a third- grader at the French American International School, who created a hand-sculpted sea turtle on a beach with a plastic bag in its mouth and the caption “Don’t Trash the Oceans!”

In the kindergarten through 2nd grade category, the winning entry was submitted by Miss Collette’s second grade class at Children’s Day School, using sea anemones, starfish and other sea life crafted by students with the message “Plastic Hurts Us!”

Ashley Gan, a seventh grader at Zion Lutheran School, won the grand prize in the 6-8th grade category for her drawing of a beach with a  fisherman’s net filled with marine debris and sea animals trying to feed on plastic waste.

In the high school category, Sungmin Chu, in the 10th grade at Lowell High School, won for a three dimensional depiction of a town where factories are polluting the beach and trash is washing into the ocean.

In addition, a special grand prize was awarded to a watercolor drawing of the beach picked by EPA staff as their favorite entry.  Submitted by Sudha Reynolds, a seventh grader at the Rooftop Alternative School, the drawing includes a poem about the tragedy of trash in the ocean and its effects on turtles, seagulls and other sea life.

 

The grand prize winners and their classmates will have the opportunity to have a field trip to EPA to learn about an environmental issue of interest to the students.

In addition to the award, each artist also received a collectible postcard decorated with art by San Francisco artist Eli Noyes, who was on hand to autograph the postcards for students at the reception. Mr. Noyes was chosen to design the U.S. Postal Service’s new “Go Green” stamps Exiting EPA (disclaimer), recently released in honor of Earth Day 2011, which illustrate ways that we can all help the environment in our everyday actions.

Judges for the contest included Tamar Hurwitz, Environmental Education Coordinator for the San Francisco Department of the Environment; Deborah Munk, Director of the Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco; and Judith Selby Lang, a local artist who creates works of art using found objects from Kehoe Beach in Point Reyes National Park.

After the reception and show on April 21, the artworks were moved to the EPA Environmental Information Center and Library where they will be on display beginning at an Open House on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, from 1 to 4 p.m. The exhibit will continue to be on display through May 26, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For additional information please call (415) 947-4406.


A Poem, by Sudha Reynolds

I swim in the ocean
A horrible sight burns my eyes
the sight of trash
Floating around absentmindedly
But, are there jellyfish
In this mess?

I search
but, what's the difference?
A turtle comes.
It eats jeffyfish or...
were those plastic bags?

Anyways... I move on
Swimming toward land.

I stop at the sight of litter
more types of trash
being thrown away
faster than a
chewed up wad of gum.

Seagulls dive for food
and take out trash.

The next day
I come back
the turtle had died
three seagulls
lay on the ocean floor
dead and without a soul.

I watch in horror
as more trach is thrown in
and more animals die.

What will this make us
and our world?

Will it shrivel up
and die
in 100's of years?

Or will the problem get solved
no more animals dying
from population
making everone happy

But... how will that happen?

Is it possible
through time?

It might be

 

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Finalists

Kindergarten to 2nd Grade

Kyra Butler, Kindergarten
Coming of Age Christian Academy
Teacher:   Sister Jasmine

Ms. Ghidini’s 1st Grade Art Class
Cathedral School for Boys
Teacher:   Sheila Ghidini

Isabella Norwood Paulus, 1st Grade
Children's Day School
Teacher: Elizabeth McClellan, Linnea Larsen

Rose Leder-Lee, 1st Grade
Children's Day School
Teacher: Elizabeth McClellan, Linnea Larsen

Michael Aquino, 2nd Grade
Town School For Boys
Teacher:   Lauren Menschel, Robert Hendrickson, Leslie Ren Terry

Jack Bolton, 2nd Grade
Town School For Boys
Teacher:   Lauren Menschel, Robert Hendrickson, Leslie Ren Terry

Anjali Jariwala, 2nd Grade
Children's Day School
Teacher:   Elizabeth McClellan, Collette Zee

Ms. Collette's 2nd Grade Class
Grand Prize
Children's Day School
Teacher:   Elizabeth McClellan, Collette Zee

Conner Liang, Eddie Taylor, Aidan Hyde, 2nd Grade
Children's Day School
Teacher:   Elizabeth McClellan, Collette Zee

Grades 3-5

Ivyla Zhang, 3rd Grade
Oster Elementary School, San Jose
Teacher:   Debbie Blye

Emma Jennison, 3rd Grade
Grand Prize
French American International School
Teacher:   Heather McWhinney

Mia Le Francois, 3rd Grade
Growth & Learning Opportunities at Alvarado
Teacher:   Melissa Serrano

Sebastian Riano, 3rd Grade
French American International School
Teacher:   Heather McWhinney

Ylva Bosemark, 3rd Grade
French American International School
Teacher:   Heather McWhinney

Ms. Liu’s 4th Grade Art Class
St. Thomas the Apostle School
Teacher:   Karen Liu, Therese Devine

Sarah Sarmiento, 5th Grade
César Chavéz Elementary School
Teacher:   Holly Calica, Simon Walker

Tyler Kahn, 5th Grade
Rosa Parks Elementary School
Teacher:   Linda Camarena, David Nagle

Jocelyn Santiago, 5th Grade
Rosa Parks Elementary School
Teacher:   Linda Camarena, David Nagle

Pedro Navarro Oropeza, 5th Grade
Ceasar Chavez Elementary School
Teacher:   Linda Camarena, Elizabeth Scotta

Grades 6-8

Ernie Sandoval, 6th Grade
Edgewood Center
Teacher:   Orion Harris

Sudha Reynolds, 7th Grade
Rooftop Alternative School
Teacher:   Cynthia Sugawara

Andrew Saunders, 7th Grade
Edgewood Center
Teacher:   Orion Harris

Ashley Gan, 7th Grade
Grand Prize
Zion Lutheran School
Teacher:   Erin Vernoy

David Benjamin, Jr., 7th Grade
Coming of Age Christian Academy
Teacher:   Sister Jasmine

Grades 9-12

Sungmin Chu, 10th Grade
Grand Prize
Lowell High School
Teacher:   Kristin Lubenow

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