Look what has washed ashore at the Naples ZOO

by Kelsey Burr, Naples Zoo Marketing Associate

It’s an issue that most people know about: plastic pollution in our oceans. But sometimes the message doesn’t quite hit home until people see just how much plastic is washing ashore. “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea” aims to do just that. By creating art sculptures made entirely of debris that’s washed ashore, the organization’s goal is to educate a global audience about plastic pollution in oceans and waterways and spark positive changes in consumer habitats.

Since the project began in 2010, thousands of pounds of trash have been removed from beaches. That trash was then processed into more than 70 works of art, which travel the country to raise awareness about the
plight of the world’s oceans and marine life. Washed Ashore will be featured at Naples Zoo from November 17, 2018 to April 21, 2019 and will showcase 11 large sculptures. At Naples Zoo, our mission is to inspire people of all ages to respect, value, and help conserve wildlife and our natural world, and this exhibit fits that mission perfectly.

All of the sculptures are of animals that are affected by plastic pollution. The 11 pieces coming to Naples
Zoo are a sea star, shark, jelly, polar bear, penguin, humpback whale tail, seal, salmon, octopus, a parrot fish,
and a trigger fish. Each piece is carefully created, with a specific message. For example, the seal piece is made of a variety of lids, buoys, netting, and wheels to represent that seals can become entangled in nets, ropes, and
rubber rings or directly ingest bits of plastic.

Washed Ashore was founded by Angela Haseltine Pozzi, an artist and teacher from Oregon. She grew up visiting Oregon’s ocean shore every summer, and wished to educate others about the importance of the arts and the beauty of nature. Recycling and repurposing materials were part of her life from the beginning and was the basis for her first body of exhibited work entitled, “Undetermined Species”, a collection of coral reefs and invented invertebrates made from recycled clothes and thrift store items.

Her artwork was thriving and her work fulfilling when tragedy hit in 2002 with the sudden death of her husband of 25 years. Looking for meaning in life, she went to the ocean to heal, but what she found was an ocean that needed healing. Pozzi found her life’s calling: to make art to save the sea. Today more than 10,000 volunteers have helped clean beaches and worked with Washed Ashore to fulfill its mission. Pozzi vows, “Until we run out of plastic on the beach, we will keep doing our work.” Pozzi will be visiting Naples Zoo on November 15, 2018 to speak as part of our Conservation Lecture Series. The event will be from 6 pm – 8 pm. Naples Zoo members get in free and general admission is $10 at the door. RSVP at napleszoo.org/speakers.

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