The students at Harmony Science Academy High School celebrated Earth Day in a big way this spring, and the Houston Zoo was proud to support their incredible efforts. French teacher and National Honor Society (NHS) coordinator Ineke Kerkhofs visited the Washed Ashore exhibit (previously at the Zoo from January – April 2016) and was inspired by the sculptures and the chance for guests to pledge to go plastic bag free to help save animals, like sea turtles, in the wild.
“I thought this was a great way to create awareness with our high school students that plastic bags are an unnecessary danger to our environment,” Kerkhofs said.
After brainstorming with the NHS students, they created a plan to celebrate Earth Day and spread the message of the effects of plastic pollution on the ocean to all the students. They collected plastic water bottles during Spring Break and created an art piece (much how the Washed Ashore team creates their sculptures) made with these bottles. With help from the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Club and the art department, they created the art piece (pictured above) and revealed it in their lunch periods on Earth Day, April 22. The piece was such a success that it will hang in the cafeteria as a permanent art display!
“We wanted to create something that can last for a longer period of time and that will be a reminder that caring for our planet is an ongoing concern, not just something to think about during Earth Day,” Kerkhofs added.
In addition to the reveal, the NHS students encouraged their classmates to take a pledge to reduce their use of plastic bags and help save animals in the wild. Through all four lunch periods, 115 students and staff took the pledge! When they took the pledge, the students and staff signed the Earth Day banner the team had created (pictured below), much like the thumbprints on the mural at the Zoo. “The exhibition at the Zoo, Washed Ashore, was a very big inspiration for us,” Kerkhofs said.
Way to go, Harmony Science Academy High School! We are so proud of this great project and the efforts made to share how we can all take action to help save animals in the wild.
If you would like to get your community, school, or organization involved in an effort to save wildlife, please visit our Take Action page for inspiration! The Houston Zoo is proud to work with the Houston community to develop and initiate impactful efforts to save wildlife. Everyone is a conservationist and can make a difference, just like the students and teachers at Harmony Science Academy High School!