Lanarkshire schools win top spots in marine litter art competition

Lanarkshire youngsters celebrate after their winning works in a litter art competition were displayed at an exhibition at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful launched its Upstream Battle campaign in response to huge public and political concern over marine litter.

And as part of their work to solve the problem, they have this year organized a competition open to preschools, primary and special schools.

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Bardykes Farm Nursery School in Blantyre won first place, with a prize of a £100 voucher to spend on sustainable art materials.

The children proposed the concept of #StartEcoBricking, to show that “what we save, saves us”.

They created a live scene in the nursery’s outdoor space, using eco-bricks made from recycled plastic bottles filled with soft plastic (like empty packets of crisps) and other items collected during pick-ups local waste.

Youngsters from Bardykes Farm Nursery School receive their awards

In second place, the Hamilton School for the Deaf. Primary 5, 6 and 7 students created artwork showing two scenarios, one with our seas filled with healthy wildlife and ecosystems, and the alternative – if we allow litter in in the seas – with wildlife struggling to survive in water filled with plastic waste and marine litter.

Instead of plastic-based paint, which means the artwork can’t be recycled, the children used homemade marble prints from waste ink and old crayons, layering them with trash, recycled cardboard and aluminum foil in the shape of a fish.

The creative entries went on display at Glasgow Science Center’s The Bothy community space on June 15. And the winners were judged by ocean adventurer Elaine Hopley, Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful, and Carol McArdle of the West Partnership Regional Improvement Collaborative.

Over the past three years, the campaign has helped communities raise awareness, gather evidence and inspire action in Glasgow and the Clyde Valley.

Schools from across the West Partnership region competed – Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.

The children’s artwork – in a range of mediums from models and photography to video and poetry – was based on their exploration of the source-to-sea pathway of marine litter and how this is reflected in their own communities.

Christie Cairns, Early Childhood Practitioner at Bardykes Farm Nursery School, said: “Thank you for this fabulous opportunity to put all of our eco-school knowledge into practice.

“The kids and I had a great time editing the video and creating our artwork.”

Barry Fisher, Managing Director of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “This exciting project was an ideal opportunity for pupils to engage in learning outside the classroom.

“I enjoyed judging the entries, which told the story of marine litter in an imaginative and creative way, representing the hope as well as the scale of the problem. The use of different materials and artistic techniques to meet the brief is good thought and the result speaks for itself.”

He added: ‘Big congratulations to all the children who took part in the competition – congratulations to the winners and to those who were highly commended.’

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Dora W. Clawson