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Students create rubbish blanket for reef project

ocean rubbish
The Uncomforter by St. Patrick's Catholic School students.

St Patrick's Catholic Primary School students have received accolades for their creation of a blanket made from rubbish, with a strong message about ocean pollution attached to its concept.

The students received second place in the Hatchery Crusaders competition recently, an event designed to raise awareness about marine pollution run by the Queensland Museum.

The thought-provoking artwork, titled The Uncomforter, was created in 2019 by a mix of Year 2 and 3 students with help from teacher Jessica Cullinan.

“The students hoped to bring the viewer's attention to the uncomfortable reality of the blanket of rubbish that is smothering our ocean in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” Mrs Cullinan said.

“The idea to make a blanket from rubbish came about after students read ‘My Two Blankets’ by Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood.

“Then, in reading groups, they had looked at information about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and how it was a blanket of rubbish covering the ocean.

“The idea started to develop from there.”

Jessica said some of the students took part in a ReefClean beach clean-up day with the rubbish collected used to make The Uncomforter.

“Some students collected scientific data and among other things helped collect and properly dispose of 837 cigarette butts from just one local beach in one day,” Mrs Cullinan said.

The Uncomforter
Students from St. Pats with The Uncomforter.

“Every piece of rubbish sparked a conversation. They were particularly interested to learn that tea bags have plastic in them and don't biodegrade.

“They were disgusted in the number of cigarettes that were found and couldn't comprehend why anyone would want to put them in their mouth.”

She said with the rubbish collected, The Uncomforter began to take shape in the classroom.

“It was a reasonably quick project and only took us a couple of weeks to complete. Many hands make light work,” Jessica said.

“The students were all super excited about the chance to make such a difference to the environment for our beautiful ocean creatures.”

The Uncomforter will be on display at the Queensland Museum in March as part of the World Science Festival Brisbane.

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