NEWPORT — Students from Sam Case Elementary School visited the state capitol on March 14 for Rise Above Plastic Pollution Day, when students from this stretch of the coast go to meet elected representatives, including Gov. Kate Brown.
The kids traveled to Salem to ask state officials to emphasize the importance of the problem as well as to make a personal commitment to cut down on their own plastic use.
“I thought it was really amazing that they had the opportunity to meet with different legislators and the governor,” said Olivia Schroeder, the fifth grade teacher at Sam Case Elementary who took her class on the trip. “They felt like they got some validity in all of the hard work and activism and stewardship they’ve been working on when they were able to hear the governor talk about how she supports the plastic bag ban in the State of Oregon.”
Among other things, the Sam Case students were able to hear Brown talk about her own efforts to reduce her plastic use, which Schroeder said made a big impact on the kids. They also were in the room when Brown signed the Rise Above Plastic Pollution Pledge and declared March 14 “Rise Above Plastic Pollution Day.”
Talks by marine scientists on the effects of plastic on ocean life and art about plastic pollution were among the festivities surrounding Rise Above Plastic Pollution Day, and nonprofit organization Washed Ashore, which creates art to educate the public about plastic pollution, brought along a mixed-media sculpture of a shark made entirely of plastic trash.
“This was different from any trip I’ve ever taken a class on,” Schroeder said. “It was organized very well and we had a guide the whole day who was leading us through various activities, which is always good with kids when things keep moving.”