Stewardship—Washed Ashore

Summary: Through the Washed Ashore community project, students create marine-themed art from plastic debris found on beaches. The art serves to educate the public and increase awareness about marine debris and plastic pollution.

Concepts to teach: Plastic, marine debris, art

Goals: Students turn problematic plastic trash into pieces of art as a powerful way of showing the pervasiveness of plastic in our oceans and its effects on marine wildlife.

AR.03.CP.01, AR.03.CP.03, AR.03.HC.03, AR.03.HC.04, AR.03.HC.05
AR.05.CP.01, AR.05.CP.03, ARl05.HC.01, AR.05.HC.03, AR.05.HC.04, AR.05.HC.05

Specific Objectives:

  1. Sort plastics by type, color and functionality
  2. Create a marine-themed piece of art from the plastic
  3. Showcase the art to the public along with supporting essays, presentations, and student work about the topic of plastic pollution in the ocean.

Activity Links and Resources:

  • Washed Ashore Project—The Washed Ashore community project was initiated by Bandon artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi. The website includes videos, exhibit schedule, and training opportunities.
  • See how two 6th grade classrooms in Oregon’s Lincoln County School District used Washed Ashore to incorporate the study of oceans, art and marine pollution into their curriculum: Washed Ashore Presentation.
  • NOAA’s FAQ about plastic marine debris and its impacts.
  • NOTE: Not all information is appropriate to share with elementary students. For more on this topic read the article Beyond Ecophobia by David Sobel.


  • Student portfolio includes a ocean-themed art piece made from plastic marine debris with an accompanying essay that describes the artwork and its relationship to ocean health.