Faulkner’s Light Brigade Environmental Education Committee – “Rakefish Project”
The newest addition to the Brigade is the Environmental Education Committee. Initially, the committee will promote and support local student efforts to encourage ocean stewardship. The first initiative will be the “Rakefish Project”. The “Rakefish Project” is a collaborative, traveling, research endeavor that is demonstrated through art on the topic of marine litter. The purpose of the project is to bring awareness of how human habits and behaviors, involving single use plastic products, have had a profound negative impact on the environment. The project began in the Guilford Public Schools as an art project.
The “Rakefish” sculpture is a 4 foot long fish made mostly of broken plastic rake and it was created by third grade students in 2011. The sculpture has traveled extensively, visiting host schools across the United States and Australia. The sculpture is currently in Japan. In addition to “Rakefish”, Guilford art students have created two sea turtle sculptures, made mostly of plastic waste materials. They are designed to offer students the same research opportunities and interactive components as the original “Rakefish”. All of the sculptures are part of the “Sea of No Plastic” initiative, (seaofnoplastic.org) which functions as an information hub for all three sculptures. Currently, both of the sea turtle sculptures are preparing to visit host schools. One will be sent to the Dominican Republic and the other will be sent to Mystic, CT.
The “Sea of No Plastic” project envisions the sculptures visiting host schools throughout world. The effort will continue until the flow of plastic waste material in the ocean has ended. In an effort to expand the audience, the sea turtles have also incorporated the Spanish language. This innovation provides further opportunities to connect with Spanish speaking communities both nationally and internationally. A visit by one of the sculptures to a participating host school is free. It provides opportunities to highlight student learning concerning the local watershed and its relationship to the ocean. Research tasks challenge students to investigate how their watershed leads to the sea. The sculptures also provide an opportunity to explore local impacts of plastic pollution on animals, on ecosystems and on other people who depend on the ocean’s sustained health. Student responses can take on many forms, such as science and art projects, photos and video, interviews with other students and local leaders, and so on. The student generated content travels digitally with the sculpture and is shared on our websites and digital media.
Other interactive components emphasize a direct individual connection with the sculpture, such as the “Message in a Bottle”. These messages are done by students who write a note to world leaders regarding marine litter. The message is placed by the student into the mouth of the sculpture. Another such component is the “pledge scroll”, which is rolled up and travels with the sculpture.
For more information on the “Rakefish Project”, please visit therakefish.org