I first visualized Catch of the Day as a series of collaborative art pieces that would be created during the Splash Trash Tour.
The concept was to involve people in each Tour site in creating an art installation that would illustrate how by 2050 there will be more pounds of plastic in the ocean than pounds of fish.
“Art is a wound turned into light."
I was devastated when I first saw the plastic-covered beaches of Utila. I felt I had to create something positive in the face of something so horrific. To turn the wound into light.
Creating art out of beach trash changed my life. I am a lifelong environmental activist and professional environmental educator, but no issue has affected me the way this one has. There was something about entering through the art door rather than the science door that was transformational in a totally different way.
I wanted others to experience this transformation as well.
And they did. In the process of creating Catch of the Day in each site, I witnessed the power of creating art from beach trash to transform – to increase awareness, create dialogue and catalyze positive action around trash in our oceans.
Don Elwing, beach cleaner and beach trash artist extraordinaire, graciously collected and sent me fishing nets collected from Kamilo Beach, Hawaii.
I envisioned these nets as the basic structure for the pieces, but I didn't know how the art would manifest and evolve until I got to each site.
Here they are. Five sites, five different Catch of the Day installation art pieces. Although the concept was the same, each piece reflects the context, talents and experience of people who helped create it. Catch of the Day through the eyes of the old and the very young.
Walton County 4-H Masterpiece Art Club: What a great group of kids ages 10-17.
To initiate the process, each selected one piece of beach trash that best represented what Catch of the Day meant to them and to explain it to the group, Their reflections were heartfelt and heartbreaking.
Besides the plastic objects they selected, they added the commitments they had written to adopt a new habit that would reduce trash in the ocean.
Colorful photos from the Pop-Up Show graphics brought the final piece to life.
The kids were so proud when their art was featured at the two Splash Trash Pop-Up Shows. It is still displayed at the Walton County Extension Office and will be exhibited at the 2017 County Fair.
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) staff had been collecting beach trash for several months including a massive shrimp net that stretched across the entire area underneath the Nature Center!
As part of Splash Trash Family Day, children colored paper fish and attached them to the net.
The juxtaposition of the tiny fish in relation to the large pieces of plastic was a powerful illustration of what the ocean will look like in 2050 when there will be more pounds of plastic in the ocean than pounds of fish.
Robinson Preserve staff and volunteers collected the beach trash and participated in creating this site's Catch of the Day. The existing aquarium in one of the Valentine House rooms was a perfect place for the installation.
Two very sad little fish swam around the aquarium, surrounded by plastic.
I swear those little fish could bring tears to your eyes.
Is this what the ocean will look like in 2050?
I was a little nervous because they were so young - 4-to-9-years-old! I thought they might lose interest, but they were enthralled until the end.
And they brought their friends to see it!
A mother (or collaborative artist) shouldn't have favorites, but there was something very special about creating this Catch of the Day with very young children.
They had a great time picking the plastic objects and creating the little fish for the installation.
Then we went to the net!
Key West Marine Sanctuary staff and volunteers had collected some great beach trash art materials including a rusty faucet. The kids wanted that to be the center of the piece.
Hmmm...where should I put this?
The kids had a great time utilizing beach trash from right here in the Keys to create a new art piece – ‘Catch of the Day’. That piece still hangs in our lobby to help educate visitors about the variety of materials that make up trash in the oceans and on the beaches of the world."
Splash Trash Tour Coordinator
Key West Eco-Discovery Center Manager
Pass the Trash!
So much lovely beach trash, so little time.
When the Tour ended, we still had a large pile of 'art materials' the Friends of St. Joseph Buffer Preserve had collected.
So we passed the trash to the Florida Coastal Conservancy and the Science Seed to create a Catch of the Day collaborative art piece at the 2017 Forgotten Coast Sea Turtle Festival in July.
Passing of the Trash April 2017 - Left to Right: Lynda White, Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserve Chair and expert beach trash sorter. Mimi Mimmick, Science Seed and representative for the Florida Coastal Conservancy. Bette 'Splash Trash' Booth. Sandra Deacon, St. Joseph Bay Preserve Administrative Assistant and all round Wonder Woman.
And what a great job they did! Thanks to Lynda White, the Friends of St. Joseph's Buffer Preserve and Janet Grinzinger on Cape San Blas, they had plenty of materials to choose from including several pieces with bite marks.
Plastic is deadly to sea life. More than 100,000 sea animals and a million birds die from plastic in our oceans - either through ingestion or entanglement.
And what a beautiful location - at the foot of the Port St. Joe Lighthouse!
"It was so much fun honoring your idea. So simple and powerful. Reminds me somehow of Sunday school: follow me and I will make you fishers of men."
Science Seed and Florida Coastal Conservancy cy
So much of the trash were things left on the beach, rather than washed up from the ocean, organizers commented: "Catch of the Day? Around here, we call it Leave No Trace (an ordinance to remove all belongings from the beach each day). You can call it what you want. Common courtesy? Common sense?
One little girl, maybe nine, arms akimbo, stared it down. 'Who left this mess?', she wondered.
Well, we did, sissy. And we can stop it, too."
© SplashTrash 2016
SplashTrash Intl. by SplashTrash Intl. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please give credit to SplashTrash Intl., the SplashTrash Tour, Bette Booth, www.splashtrash.org