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St Mary’s honours Earth Day with thought-provoking artwork

St Mary’s honours Earth Day with thought-provoking artwork

Students at St Mary’s School in Cambridge have used their artistic talents to create a unique piece of artwork to mark Earth Day (22nd April). With over 13 million tonnes of plastic ending up in our planet’s waters each year, students created a huge humpback whale’s tail out of recyclable plastics - shining a spotlight on ocean pollution.   

The artwork was jointly designed by St Mary’s dedicated Eco Committee and its International Committee. The Eco Committee is a group of passionate and driven students, who are each committed to making sustainable, environmentally friendly decisions to benefit the school’s community. The school’s International Committee raise awareness of issues of a personal interest to international students, as well as highlighting important global issues.

To create the whale’s tail, the committees asked students from across the school to bring in recyclable plastics. Students then gave up their lunchbreaks to work on the marine artwork. The result is a 6ft long tail that is made up of more than 250 pieces of plastic including bags, bottles, crisp packets and containers. The huge tail will be on display in the school’s cortile, along with other learning resources that will help raise awareness of ocean pollution and its negative impact on marine wildlife.

Charlotte Avery, Headmistress at St Mary’s School, said:

“The enthusiasm of our two dedicated committees ensures that our wider school engages with important issues, such as Earth Day, which affect the local area, the UK, and the world at large. Recent analysis showed that if plastic waste continues ending up in our oceans, by 2050 there will be more plastic in our planet’s waters than fish! We are incredibly proud of our students for creating this striking piece of artwork and raising awareness of such an important issue. We look forward to seeing it on display at the school and we are sure it will be a huge talking point.”

Eloise Streeter, student and Communications Officer for St Mary’s Eco Committee, added: "I really enjoyed helping to create the whale tail. It was a fun, creative activity and an opportunity to highlight a very important message about the sheer volume of waste we produce and discard. We must reconsider ourselves as consumers and challenge single-use/non-biodegradable plastics. I really hope we can spread more awareness through our whale tail artwork, as well as save some plastic!"

The St Mary’s Eco Committee team has already implemented a number of other ideas and projects across the school including running ‘Eco Wednesdays’, which give pupils the chance to come together to work on various eco activities such as making crafts using old plastic and cardboard materials; watching environmental documentaries; and making reusable masks out of old clothing. In addition, the team recently introduced a new box to the school’s reception area for plastic waste – diverting it from landfill. The box is part of a recycling scheme by the company ReWorked, which collects materials that can’t be recycled and turns them into useful products such as chairs, plant pots and chalkboards, which can then be purchased on its website.

Consisting of a wide range of students across various age groups, St Mary’s International Committee works hard to raise awareness of issues of personal interest to international students, as well as of global issues that are of importance to the whole school community. The committee often delivers whole school assemblies to highlight important world events and issues, as well as updating a special notice board to highlight different countries, cultures and identities across the world.