A large leatherback sea turtle took shape at the hands of Hampton Bays Middle School sixth-graders as they sculpted the “gurtle”—the nickname students coined for their turtle—from the garbage they had collected along local beaches, including the Peconic Bay and Shinnecock Bay.
This effort to promote awareness of marine pollution was also aimed to incorporate STEAM, the acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, into the students’ education.
The sixth-graders’ “gurtle”—their garbage turtle masterpiece—combined both science and art as students learned about the environment, sorted and weighed the plastic trash and turned the litter into a creative statement on pollution.
The students were assisted by their teachers Rick Nydegger, Pam Renna and Jim Waring, as well as local artist Carolyn Munaco. Waring stated, “The students choose the leatherback turtle as their ambassador to help bring awareness to marine pollution, in particular, plastics.”