Dismantling sculpture teaches students lessons in the environment.

October 10, 2018

Dismantling sculpture teaches students lessons in the environment.

SCOTTVILLE — Science students at Gateway to Success studied the effects of pollution in a unique way recent. They deconstructed a piece of art. The fish sculpture assembled by community volunteers and nicknamed, Trash Trout, was deconstructed on Thursday Oct. 4 by the students. The project was initiated by the Makers Market of Ludington and A Few Friends for the Environment of the World (AFFEW) in Aug. 2016 to raise awareness about Great Lakes pollution and native species.

“It was the appropriate next phase in the life cycle of the Trash Trout,” said Erica Karmeisool, maker space coordinator at G2S and former director of the Makers Market, a Ludington-based community maker space which is now permanently closed. “Through the deconstruction process, the students saw the variety of litter that washes up on our beaches, learned how to separate the materials for recycling and experienced how the components may be reused for future creative projects.”

“It’s sad to think that all of this garbage was on the beach at one point,” said Stacia Newberry, ninth grader at G2S. Newberry noticed one of the pieces of litter was a communication card ironically titled, “Save Our Planet.”

The deconstruction took place during Earth and Space class, instructed by G2S science teacher Dan Lubin. The students’ current project for the term is, “Fishing Spots.” Lubin took some of the class on a field trip to the Pere Marquette River to do water quality testing and photography, while the others deconstructed the sculpture with Karmeisool.

During the process, ninth grader Jason Truxton noted that trout is a species native to the State of Michigan. “People don’t really take the responsibility into their own hands to just clean up after themselves,” said ninth grade student, Chelsea Hammond. “Other people have to pay the consequences, or animals do.”

The Trash Trout was created on Aug. 18, 2016 during AFFEW’s monthly beach sweep at Stearns Park in Ludington. Garbage that was collected by volunteers during the beach clean-up was sorted by color and attached with nails to a foam and wood framework. The finished sculpture was on display at the Ludington Avenue location of the Makers Market, and then traveled to other venues throughout Mason County over the following two years.

The Trash Trout was on display at the Mason County District Library in Ludington and Scottville, the Ludington State Park, West Shore Community College, and Pere Marquette Township Office before arriving at G2S. Exhibiting venues and transportation of the sculpture was coordinated in part by Julia Chambers of AFFEW and Patti Skinner of the Mason County District Library.

Karmeisool said that at first, students questioned the need to dismantle a piece of art. They asked why work so hard at something to just take it apart. “I explained that the point of some art is the process itself,” said Karmeisool. “The process and purpose of this artwork is to demonstrate that what we throw away never really goes away; it just goes somewhere else. The Trash Trout brought the community together to turn litter into something creative. Now, the students have released those objects to be recycled into something new.”

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