Float onward with creativity

Published 10:27 pm Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Volunteers are needed to decorate two steel sculptures on Saturday and turn them into colorful reminders of what happens to litter that falls into the ocean.

Keep Suffolk Beautiful is partnering with the Suffolk Art League and the Suffolk Art Gallery to complete this public art project. Volunteers will begin on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the art gallery, located at 118 Bosley Ave.

The steel sculptures are of a butterfly and a turtle, both much larger than life, according to Wayne Jones of Keep Suffolk Beautiful. They were made by welding instructor Thomas Shirk’s class at the College and Career Academy at Pruden.

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To raise awareness on the hazards of marine debris, volunteers will weave clam netting collected on Fisherman Island around both frames. The netting will be embellished with balloons that were found on remote beaches in Virginia, according to Jones.

These balloons came from a report conducted by Clean Virginia Waterways, which is based at Longwood University in Farmville. Researchers Christina Trapani, Kathy O’Hara and Katie Register conducted 46 balloon-related litter surveys from June 2013 to November 2017.

The surveys covered about 111 linear miles of remote Virginia beaches, during which 11,441 balloons and balloon-related litter items were recorded, according to Jones. These sculptures will be decorated with balloons from that study and go on tour to raise awareness of what marine litter truly entails.

Suffolk high school art classes were invited to participate.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout of a teenager-type crowd with some adults, but everybody is welcome,” Jones said.

Call Jones at 514-7604 or email littercontrol@suffolkva.us for more information.