Dia de Los Muertos Ocean Guardian Gallery
Wood Middle School kicked off another year as a NOAA Ocean Guardian School
with a full week of Ocean themed learning. The week culminated with a Dia de Los Muertos Ocean art and science gallery exhibit on the 1st floor of the school.
Students from Lindsey Shepard's art classes worked individually to study a sea animal that might be harmed by plastic pollution in the ocean. Then, using a quilled paper technique, students created colorful skulls from rolled paper. In the Dia de los Muertos tradition, the skulls were designed to honor the life of the animal harmed or killed by human carelessness.
Umbrella JellyfishShepard's students also worked in groups to create sculptures transforming trash that typically harms wildlife into messages to help conserve it. In one example, students used discarded plastic bottles and bags to make a sea turtle. In another, students transformed a discarded umbrella, plastic bottle caps, and plastic bags into a jellyfish.
Students in Jeannette Frechou's Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project (SLWRP) elective class studied animals harmed by plastic pollution and drew skeletons of their chosen animals. The activity reinforced a study of anatomy and provided students an opportunity to practice research in scientific texts. Each drawing was accompanied by a summary of the animal's food web and an explanation of how it might confuse plastic for food.
SLWRP students also hosted a desktop beach model designed to give visitors a chance to experience the on-going research into plastic pollution conducted by Wood Middle School. 6th grade exhibit hosts showed visitors how to sift through beach sand to find small bits of plastic called "nurdles" that frequently find their way into the food chain. They explained how these bits of plastic are mistaken for fish eggs and how they contribute to the ingestion of persistent organic pollutants by unsuspecting sea creatures.
State of the San Francisco Esturay Poster
The gallery included a poster prepared for the 11th Biennial State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference by teacher Jeanette Frechou and students Mira Belle Arbreton and Angela Pham. The poster showed examples of what students have learned about the impacts of plastic on the marine environment and what they are doing about it.
The Ocean Guardian exhibit also highlighted an emerging partnership between Wood Middle School and East Bay Regional Parks to advance the Fish Friends program.
Fish Friends Pledge
By placing their thumbprint on the Fish Friends poster, students promised to "do my part to make sure my trash stays off the land and out of the water, away from animals that might think it is food. If I see someone drop something I will pick it up for them. I will put trash where it belongs so we can all be healthy."
During the 6th period of the day, classrooms from across the campus, and visitors from the community toured the exhibit.
CrabAlameda County Office of Education Arts Learning Coordinator, Ray Cagan noted, "I was impressed by how excited and proud the student presenters were about their work, and how interested the visitors were in learning about what their peers had done."
Lena Wolff, the Galleries Coordinator from The Alameda County Office of Education, remarked on the overall quality of the exhibit, "I was impressed by how well the excellent craftsmanship of the artwork matched the seriousness and high quality of the content in the exhibit. Students were very knowledgeable about the issues behind the artwork they created- and very proud of their work."
I am very sorry that you died by eating a plastic bag thinking it was a jellyfish. Even though people go to the beach every day to clean up the beach and to wave you guys, but you still lost your life. Also, lots of people recycle and do the right things but some careless human beings still do the wrong thing. The purpose of Day of the Dead is to honor the dead, so I made you a turtle skull. I hope people stop littering and recycle more. It's not fair that lots of animals die because of us and we don't even notice it. I hope that my artwork and my peer's artwork help recognize that we are killing precious animals and making the earth not green. So by writing this and making this artwork that you know that I really honor your life.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Dear Loggerhead Sea Turtle,
I'm so sorry about how you consumed that plastic bag thinking it was a jellyfish. I understand that bags can look very similar to the tasty snack of jellyfish. Now you're dead because that plastic bag got in your intestines and very slowly starved you to death. I'm sorry you faced that horrible tragedy, all because someone did not properly throw away their trash.
Ocean Guardian Schools such as Will C. Wood are helping to stop this from ever happening again. A lot of people have contributed to help stop plastic pollution, me being one of them.
REST IN PEACE
I am terribly sorry that those fishermen choked you with their nylon fishnets. Even though environmental groups are trying their best to clean up the plastic in the ocean and recall nylon fishnets, you still died as a result of greed and careless human actions. I am doing my best to honor you on Day of the Dead by drawing your skull into a calaveres skull. I rolled recycled pieces of paper in many designs and colors to show how beautiful you were. It was a bit difficult to capture every detail of your skull, but with a bit of trial and error, I managed to capture most of your physical features. I hope that in the future, people will recognize how important you are to our earth and how much of a problem it would be to lose you.
Dear Sea Turtle,
I am very sorry that you thought that plastic bag was a jellyfish. I know you choked on it and couldn't let you breathe. We are trying to clean the beach to save your friends and family. I am also sorry that the garbage or plastic bag interfered with your nesting activity. I wish I had known that our plastic pollution and garbage was affecting not only our life, but yours. I can't even imagine how you felt when you choked on that plastic bag. We have a lot of programs to help you specifically like to clean up the beach to prevent that from happening again. I hope you're in a better place now, where there is no plastic bags to kill you. I really hope my project will give everyone a message to stop using plastic and to clean up the beach. I will do everything I can just to try saving other sea turtles and other animals.