Sunday, April 11th, 2021


Suffolk Volunteers Complete Sculptures to Raise Awareness of Marine Debris

Recently, 35 volunteers participated in a public art project at the Suffolk Art Gallery, designed to raise awareness of marine debris, particularly rubber balloons. More than 11,000 littered balloons and ribbons, collected on remote Virginia beaches by researchers with Clean Virginia Waterways, were donated to the project. Thomas Shirk, welding instructor at the College and Career Academy at Pruden, and six students produced two beautiful metal pieces – a butterfly and a sea turtle--to hold the balloons. Art teachers at three public high schools solicited volunteers to fill the sculptures with the debris. The colorful sculptures are now on display at the North Suffolk Library.

The finished sculptures

Christina Trapani with balloon debris found during a survey

Happy Birthday balloon found on the beach

Kathy O'Hara ad Christina Trapani loading up after a survey

Kathy O'Hara ad Christina Trapani with all of the balloon debris found over 5 years

Lakeland High School Art Teacher Angela White with her daughters

Researchers and Clean Virginia Waterways starting with a survey

Thomas Shirk Welding Instructor

The welding students of the College and Career Academy at Pruden

Volunteers working on the Sea Turtle

The volunteers sorting the balloons