Students Learn Importance of Preserving Marine Life, Reducing Waste

The next time you sit on a bench at Ocean Beach Park in New London, you could be sitting on trash – but in a good way.

Twenty-seven students in New London’s Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School 7th Grade Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program have been working on a semester-long project to raise awareness about how much trash we create in our communities and what happens to marine life when trash ends up in our waters.

Along with school teachers, New England Science & Sailing (NESS) Foundation educators, and the NESS SEA AmeriCorps members, students built a bench comprised of Ecobricks.

An Ecobrick is created by just two materials: a used plastic bottle and large quantities of dry trash. Trash is packed into the plastic bottle to make it hard like a brick, which can then be used to make a variety of structures, such as benches and even buildings.

Collectively, the students managed to cut the school's breakfast trash in half and stuffed almost 400 water bottles with 100 pieces of trash each. It’s expected that this bench will be a landmark at Ocean Beach Park for years to come.

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