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Using Art to Encourage Individuals to Prevent Marine Debris

Jan. 5, 2018 — On December 18, the North Inlet-Winyah Bay (NIWB) National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and City of Georgetown hosted a shrimp stuffing event at East Bay Park in Georgetown, South Carolina.

Woman outdoors with sculpture and marine debris.
Sarah Latshaw poses with the white shrimp sculpture and her pledge to bring her own reusable bottle. Image Credit: NOAA.

This wasn’t your ordinary southern shrimp festival to celebrate different seafood cuisines, rather it was an outreach event to raise awareness about marine debris issues through art. This park is a popular boat landing, a bustling recreational complex, and an excellent venue for engaging a wide audience on issues associated with marine debris.

A white shrimp sculpture, constructed of metal wire, was installed and stood roughly six feet tall and six feet long. The sculpture is meant to be filled - or stuffed - with marine debris. Marine debris was collected during a City of Georgetown marsh clean-up event and the items found were added to the sculpture. Items such as plastic bottles, beach toys, fishing gear, and crabbing buoys were collected and place inside the shrimp by community members. Sarah Latshaw, Southeast Regional Coordinator with the NOAA Marine Debris Program, attended and helped stuff the shrimp.  

The white shrimp is one of two sculptures commissioned by the NIWB NERR as part of their efforts to educate the community on the impacts of marine debris, and was funded by the NOAA Marine Debris Program. Each sculpture includes an educational display along with pledge cards, which include commitments to “not litter,” “bring my own bottle,” “bring my own bag,” “refuse straws,” and more. Visitors can take a selfie with the sculpture and a pledge card and post their photos on the NIWB Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages using “#trashfreeniwb”.

Next time you’re in Georgetown, South Carolina, stop by and take your pledge!

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Photo taken outdoors of large shrimp sculpture.
The white shrimp sculpture full of debris collected during a City of Georgetown marsh clean-up event. Image credit: NOAA.