As a culmination for a year’s work where Save Our Shores used the Debris Project as a creative tool in their classroom engagements, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) presented an installation at the Monterrey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center in Santa Cruz, California. In choosing the tiles to be included in the installation, we made sure there was at least one representation from every student who participated in the program. Seeing their works within the larger grouping of tiles from different parts of the world allowed the students to contextualize their works in the wider geographic impacts of plastic pollution.
The installation filled three walls of the central staircase that led up to the hands on installations of the Sanctuary Exploration Center. The representations created by the local students came from a myriad of marine ecologies. In order to incorporate them all, the tiles were grouped into the different ecologies represented. For example, coral seas were a dense grouping in one corner whereas the open ocean was interpreted as a looser grouping in the visually distant upper realm of the tall space.
Coinciding with the opening of the installation was a featured presentation for the Sanctuary Speaker Series, which further contextualized the local project on an international platform of creative representations of plastic pollution as part of the Debris Project. The Santa Cruz Sentinel’s Kara Guzman wrote an article describing the project; Santa Cruz area children assist with global art exhibit