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a mural of an orca made out of marine debris


Student Outreach: Art & Ecology Workshops

*Reposted from Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition June 18 Newsletter, with minor edits*

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In May 2024, in collaboration with Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition and marine debris artist Elizabeth Roberts, we conducted art and ecology workshops at Toledo Elementary School and Crestview Heights School in Lincoln County. Over three days, our team, including three Oregon Shores staff, one board member/Surfrider volunteer, two Surfrider staff, and Elizabeth Roberts, engaged 338 students in addressing plastic pollution through local wildlife ecology and tide science.


The workshops featured three stations:

Mural and Assemblage Art Station: Led by Elizabeth Roberts, students used washed and sorted marine debris to create individual collages and a collaborative mural. Each of the 14 participating classrooms filled in one 3’ x 6’ panel of a 14-panel grid, forming a mural of a swimming killer whale. This choice highlighted the endangered status of Southern Resident killer whales in Oregon. The completed panels were photographed and digitally stitched together, uniting students from two school districts in a single artwork.

Marine Debris Game: Students participated in a game simulating the spread and cleanup of marine debris. Teams acted as the king tide to scatter debris and hide rubber plover eggs on a mock beach, while another team cleaned up the debris and located the eggs, emphasizing the impact of pollution on wildlife.

Solutions Station: At this station, students examined a "beach in a box" containing both plastic and organic items, engaged in group discussions about their observations, and watched an Oregon Shores film on the link between high tides, plastic pollution, and snowy plover habitat. They also created signs to educate their communities about marine debris and snowy plover protection.

We are grateful for the collaboration with Oregon Shores and Elizabeth Roberts, and thank the schools and students for their enthusiastic participation. We look forward to continuing this project on the North Coast next year for its third iteration.

Check out the final product!

orca mural

Learn more about the 2023 Art & Ecology workshops on the OSCC website!