by SLCgreen intern Sarah Hogg
Today the Hogle Zoo launches a new animal exhibit, but these animals are a bit different from the rest.
The exhibit’s animals are made up plastic debris washed up on the shore of the Oregon coast. The colorful sculptures make a bold statement about plastic pollution in our oceans and its impact on marine life.
From May 24 to September 30, visitors to Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo will come face to face with fifteen sculptures built entirely out of plastic trash. The sculptures are located throughout the zoo grounds.
Artist and art educator Angela Haseltine Possi created Washed Ashore to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of plastic within the ecosystem. Possi spent many summers on the beaches of Oregon when she was young, which fostered her love of nature. But over time, she noticed the massive amounts of plastic and trash that washed up on the shore. Possi decided to educate herself about plastic pollution and the impact it has on marine life. Her research inspired her to help in the way that she knew how—by creating art.
And so, the Washed Ashore Project was born. Volunteers who work on the Washed Ashore Project join forces to clean up beaches on the Oregon coast, process the debris, and then create the sculptures representing marine life. To this day, over 10,000 volunteers have contributed to this ongoing project.
The exhibit travels across the country to educate viewers about the dangers of plastic waste in our oceans to the marine life, and what they can do to help.
Each of the animals on display represents an animal impacted by marine debris. For example, one of the sculptures is a billowing jellyfish. Hungry sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish– a staple in their diet. The mistake can be deadly for the sea turtles. This piece serves to spark conversation about the negative impacts of plastic bags and the importance of reusable alternatives.Read more