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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 17, 2014
Carrie Ziegler, Solid Waste Education & Outreach Specialist at (360) 867-2285
Jennifer Johnson, Environmental Education & Outreach Specialist at (360) 867-2577

County's Latest Plastic Art Piece Debuts at Arts Walk Apr. 25
Solid waste and environmental educators team up to teach local kids through art

This year's Spring Arts Walk is guaranteed to be artfully inspiring and educational with the public debut of the latest art piece spearheaded by Thurston County solid waste educator Carrie Ziegler. Ziegler teamed up with Thurston County environmental health educator Jennifer Johnson and more than 600 students to create the new piece titled "Rise Above Plastics: The Butterfly Effect" that will be on display at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts from April 25 through the end of June.

After the rousing success of the 2013 Plastic Whale Project that featured a life–sized gray whale made entirely of plastic bags and other plastic waste, Ziegler and Johnson once again used art to educate by having local youth and adults "upcycle" plastic juice pouches into hundreds of butterflies for the new art piece.

"In the installation, all of the plastic butterflies form the image of a person inside a large chrysalis, which then morphs into an emerging swarm of butterflies," said Ziegler. "The inspiration for the piece comes from the Butterfly Effect theory. The idea is that a very small action in a complex system—like the beating of a butterfly's wings—can have a huge effect and even impact the entire system. So we gave each student the seemingly small action of creating a plastic butterfly, and out of all the collective effort of all those students and volunteers, we've created this elaborate piece, and hopefully we've created an impactful memory with the students as well."

Along with the work on the art piece, students around Thurston County also learned about how many of their everyday actions and consumer choices can either negatively or positively affect the environment and their own health. Some of the tips and tricks students learned included using glass or stainless steel water bottles, taking re–usable bags shopping, and heating food in non–plastic containers.

"The success of the plastic whale showed us just how much of an impact a hands–on experience like this can have for these students. Each of the students can point to this piece and say, 'I did that. I made a difference,'" said Johnson. "They can feel accomplished, and the lessons and tips and information we present also become part of that accomplishment and part of their memory, and hopefully become a part of their lives so they can make smart, informed consumer choices."

WHAT: "Rise Above Plastics: The Butterfly Effect" Art Debut at Spring Arts Walk

Friday, April 25 beginning at 5 p.m. — art will be on display through June

WHERE: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts at 512 Washington Street SE in Olympia, 98501

The 2014 Spring Arts Walk will be Friday, April 25 from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 26 from noon to 5 p.m. For more information about the 2014 Spring Arts Walk, including an interactive map and mobile app, visit www.olympiawa.gov/artswalk, or read the City of Olympia's Arts Walk news at http://olympiawa.gov/news-and-faq-s/news-releases/041514-arts-walk-info.

For more information about the Thurston County Solid Waste education and youth programs, visit www.ThurstonSolidWaste.org/Youth.


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3