By Karen Rice • Official Kids Mag
We’re talking a lot about outer space in this issue, but what about the planet we call home? We know some kids who are exploring new ways to take care of our very own planet Earth!
Kids from 4H clubs in Northwest Arkansas are becoming quite skilled at using rather “trashy” art supplies and turning them into beautiful things. They’re making art with empty plastic bottles, cans, foam plates, and things that other people throw away. And they’re cleaning up our home planet, earth, at the same time.
Recently, they participated in a centerpiece contest. The challenge? Use “ugly” trash that they picked up and turn it into a work of art.
It’s part of “Tossed,” a program created by Linda Simpson, Program Assistant for Urban Stormwater of the Benton County Arkansas Extension Service. Linda wants to get kids (and parents too), thinking about litter and trash. And to inspire them to become part of the solution. And, of course, to have some fun too.
“This is where it starts,” Linda says. “With our kids. They’re really noticing how much trash is being thrown away and learning about how it finds its way into our waterways and other natural spaces.”
The “creation” begins with trash collection. The kids go around their community, neighborhood, schools, parks and public places and collect trash that people have thrown out, on the ground, in ditches, parking lots and anywhere but the trash or recycle bin.
Then they use a few art supplies, like paint and glue, to turn the trash into treasure, in this case, a centerpiece.
Yenuli W., age 10, from Bentonville was the first place winner in the contest. She says she “felt good” and was “really happy” about winning. But her FAVORITE part of the art activity was surprising: “Going around and picking up trash.”
Although Yenuli, a 6th grader at Creekside Elementary “likes art a lot,” she says she really had fun with the trash collection part.
Yenuli picked up trash around her community in Bentonville, including on her school playground. She was surprised at the number of bottles and cans that people just threw on the ground, not even in a trash can.
That’s a problem, Yenuli points out.
“Sometimes the trash ends up in a lot of places. Animals start eating it. And a lot of them are going extinct. It’s not good,” she says.
Also, Yenuli says, a lot of what she collected for her project could easily be recycled.
“Most of the stuff I saw was recyclable, you could recycle it. Things like bottles and cans.”
Yenuli thinks maybe people are just too lazy to take the time to do it. And, she believes they’re missing out on some fun too. “You could also make things out of it.”
Yenuli plans to continue making more “recycled” art, and has already worked with her 4H Club to make a sculpture for the Benton County Fair competition.
You can enter the competition too, and be eligible to win prizes like a $50 gift card!
Yenuli has a tip for kids entering the contest: start early.
“Start working way ahead of the deadline,” she says. “Because as you start making your sculpture you’ll keep thinking of more ideas and that way you’ll have time to do more.”
The deadline for entries is August 1st. Start collecting some trash around your neighborhood, and do your part for your home planet!
Click here to see the “Tossed” sculpture contest rules.
Click here to register your sculpture online for the Benton County Fair. Must be completed before August 1.
To register for the Washington County Fair, email Linda Simpson at Lsimpson@uaex.edu before August 12.