Local business and environmental group to construct trash sculpture from beach garbage.

August 11, 2016
Washed Ashore Project's mako shark sculpture, made entirely out of plastic marine debris.

Washed Ashore Project’s mako shark sculpture, made entirely out of plastic marine debris.

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LUDINGTON — The Makers Market of Ludington and A Few Friends for the Environment of the World (AFFEW) are teaming up to turn trash into art and environmental awareness. By using debris collected from the local shoreline of Lake Michigan, the community is invited to help construct a sculpture of a lake trout, the largest native trout species of Michigan.

The project will launch on Wednesday, Aug. 17 during AFFEW’s Beach Sweep and Green Drinks event. The sweep will start at 7 p.m. at the south concession stand in Stearns Park. Participants will receive a separate bag to collect the material for the sculpture. The sculpture’s base form will be onsite for the first few pieces to be applied during the sweep, creating a three dimensional mosaic.

Plastics and other inorganic trash collected from area beaches will be sorted by color and affixed to the form of the trout. The resulting sculpture will represent a variety of pollutants that make their way into Lake Michigan and aims to bring awareness to the pollutants that threaten native species of the Great Lakes.

The sculpture will continue to develop at the Makers Market, a makers space located at 227 West Ludington Ave., where the community is encouraged to bring in collected debris from local beaches to add to the sculpture. The final project will be announced and on display Oct. 7 during Octoberfest.

“The idea was inspired by a photo shared with me of a shark sculpture that was created out plastic debris found in the ocean,” said Erica Karmeisool, director of the Makers Market. She said the sculpture was made by Washed Ashore, an organization based in Oregon that uses art to educate about plastic pollution and spark positive changes in consumer habits. “This is a wonderful project that anyone may drop in to make while seeing how much trash collects in our beautiful lake,” said Karmeisool.

During AFFEW’s July 20 cleanup event at Stearns Park beach, one half mile was cleaned resulting in 55 pounds of debris collected. Types of trash collected were 1,865 Cigarettes/cigarette filters, 363  food wrappers (candy, chips, etc.), 42 beverage bottles (plastic), 59 balloons, 48 cups & plates (plastic), 176 foam pieces, 20 glass pieces and 959 plastic pieces among other debris.

Lake trout populations were severely reduced in the Great Lakes due to over commercial fishing, the introduction of the parasitic sea lamprey and chemical contaminants, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The DNR reports that with better fisheries management, control of the sea lamprey, and solving pollution problems, lake trout stocks are coming back.

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