The World Wetland Day was on the 4th February and saw The National Trust utilise the creative skills of two local artists Ian and Ruth Rolls. The project was co-ordinated by The Jersey National Trust’s Education Officer Jo Stansfield to encourage families to engage with the importance of nature conservation.
The particular focus for this years event was to create a pop-up participatory art project involving beach litter collected along St. Ouens Bay.
The problem of plastic in our oceans was highlighted by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet documentary series. It has drawn the attention of world wide media to put a spotlight on the problem of our consumption of throw away plastic. Our oceans are polluted every day by tonnes of ‘single use’ plastics and its causing serious detrimental effects to our ocean environment. There is a campaign currently being promoted by the charity group Surfers Against Sewage called Plastic Free Coastlines which aims to raise awareness of the destructive culture of our plastic use. Volunteers organised by local group Littlefeet Environmental who organise regular beach clean days, collected a huge variety of plastics along St. Ouens which were to be the artists materials. The aim was to create a wall mural for the Education room at the Wetlands Centre in St. Ouens Bay, and who better to portray than our beloved Herring Gull. The Artists have formed a wonderful textured image of the bird which will help children to directly engage with the various forms of plastics and where they come from. The majority of the plastic found is drinking bottles and fishing equipment.
Let’s hope we get these proposed drinking fountains which will aim to cut the waste of plastic drinking bottles dramatically. We need to question the particular industries about their plastic use such as the fishing industry as it’s evident that they play a part of the issue. On a another note, it’s great to see Artist’s being encouraged to take part in schemes which aim to raise awareness as their creativity and visual language can really promote wider social engagement. I hope to see a lot more artistic projects like this being taken up in the future.