Denver Zoo Map
January 13, 2017


Pieces based on traveling exhibit "Washed Ashore" raise money for sustainable causes

Five fifth grade classes from Timber Trails Elementary School, in Castle Rock, Colorado, recently created sculptures inspired by Denver Zoo’s traveling exhibit “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,” presented by CH2M, and auctioned them for good causes. The exhibit, which ends its Denver run on January 16, features 15 large-scale sculptures of sea-life made almost entirely from debris collected on beaches. The auction took place January 9 at the school’s Showcase Night and raised more than $700 to be split between The Washed Ashore Project and the nonprofit Stand for Trees.

More than 100 students from the school visited the exhibit last fall to kick-off their earth science unit and learned how humans and pollution impact the environment. Students also studied energy sources and how to make changes that lessen the human footprint. 

For their final project, the students used recycled materials to create sculptures similar to those in the exhibit, but depicting environments and animals in Colorado that are affected by human impact. One classroom portrayed how climate change affects mountains, specifically how the decreasing length of present snow pack is creating drought and other difficulties for the species which live there. The students and teachers who participated in the project say their hope is for the artwork to continue to raise awareness about pollution and human behavior.

Funds raised were donated to The Washed Ashore Project and Stand for Trees to support their missions. Donations to Washed Ashore go toward creating aesthetically powerful art that educates a global audience about plastic pollution in oceans and waterways and sparks positive changes in consumer habits. Stand for Trees takes action to protect forests and endangered species, as well as combat climate change. Students chose to donate to Stand for Trees after watching videos created by the organization and being inspired by their work.

Developed by the nonprofit group The Washed Ashore Project, the exhibit is meant to create awareness about ocean debris and plastic pollution though art. Opened in late September 2016, this was the first time the exhibit came to Denver, as well as the first time it was be hosted by an inland, non-coastal zoo.

Photos of student-created art sculptures attached. Each of the sculptures are wall-hung, measure 2-feet long, 2.5-feet wide and include a plaque which provides information about the sculpture.