Students turn litter to art with ‘1,000 Miles of Trash’ project

JACKSON, Tenn. — Students at Community Montessori have a big goal for their latest project.

“We’re trying to make the world a better place,” Lauryn Butler, a second grader, said.

It all started when Miss Bergeron’s class talked with a marine ecologist.

“I had never really thought about how big of an issue the plastic was for the ocean ecosystem,” lower elementary teacher Bergeron. “Once we had the awareness, it was hard to let go of.”

Then, last weekend, Bergeron drove down the Great River Road, starting in Memphis and ending at the Gulf of Mexico.

“When I was in New Orleans at the river, there was a bird going around all the trash, and what it picked out to eat was a piece of plastic, and I saw it eat the plastic and I thought, ‘Oh gosh, there it is right there,'” Bergeron said.

Students say what they’re learning in the 1,000 Miles of Trash project isn’t just impacting the environment, but humans too.

“It helps the sea creatures stay alive because it’s like when they eat it, we’re eating it too,” Kendyll Stewart, a third grader, said.

“If you litter plastic bottles, it rains and it flows usually into the Mississippi River or another river, and it usually leads to the oceans,” Butler said.

Once Bergeron’s class is done cleaning the trash, they hope to turn it into a sculpture and then submit the whole project so she can receive the National Geographic Educator Certification.

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