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Vets Middle School Students Turn Beach Recyclables Into Art – And an Important Lesson

A chair made out of plastic water bottles. (Photo: Sarah Dunne, Veterans Memorial Middle School)

A chair made out of plastic water bottles. (Photo: Sarah Dunne, Veterans Memorial Middle School)

It looks like it would be a comfortable chair, if a bit unstable. But the furniture piece made out of plastic water bottles has a different purpose than to provide a place to have a seat – it’s a lesson on how littering adds up on local beaches.

The teachers: the Veterans Memorial Middle School’s eighth grade STEM class. The STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – students set out to help raise awareness about the impact plastic pollution has on the local environment, and they started in their own town.

The students, working on a recycling education project, created the large scale sculptures and other items out of plastic materials in an effort to raise awareness and educate the public about plastic pollution in the ocean and other natural environments. They partnered with the Brick Township Environmental Commission, which recently began its own partnership with the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, to promote trash free waters and educate residents about plastic pollution.

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“The Environmental Commission heard about these unique projects and brought to my attention the opportunity to promote and elevate the impact of this worthwhile effort,” said Mayor John Ducey, in an e-mail. “Working with the STEM instructor, Sarah Dunne, and our Recreation Department we will be displaying some of these projects at Brick Beach III through the Fourth of July weekend.”

Visitors to the ocean beach will see the projects, along with educational messages, along the pathway leading to the ocean during the week of June 29th and throughout the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

“These students are taking what they have learned through their studies and using it to help educate others in our community through this creative project,” Ducey said. “We hope that visitors to our public beach appreciate and take something away from this cooperative effort.”

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