Winning piece unveiled by record-breaking rower Elaine Hopley
A Primary 3 class from a North Lanarkshire school has been announced the winner in a joint competition run by Blair Drummond Safari Park and environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful. The artwork, which was unveiled this morning by record-breaking rower and local mum Elaine Hopley, will displayed for visitors to view as part of the Safari Park World Oceans Weekend on the 9 and 10 June.
Schools from across Scotland were invited to take part in the competition, which encouraged pupils to think creatively about how 80% of litter in our seas comes from land - designing an exhibit and presenting their research findings on the subject in a report.
Firpark Primary School’s winning sculpture depicts a scuba diver made of litter to represent the impact of plastic waste in our seas and oceans. The pupils spent a considerable amount of time researching to build their understanding of the issue, they conducted litter picks and demonstrated their capacity to make positive, long-term changes by campaign local businesses to reduce plastic packaging.
Blair Drummond Safari Park Sea Lion Team Leader Nikki Morrison helped judge the competition. She said:
“We were overwhelmed with the entries and it was very difficult to choose a winner, but Firpark’s entry really stood out.
We were inspired by the effort that the pupils had put into their project and the positive action that they’d taken to address the issue of marine litter.”
Class teacher Jonathan Divers said:
"The children were very excited to take part in the competition and have realised that they are capable of making a significant change and a positive impact on the environment. It's been very worthwhile."
Liz Gunn, Marketing Manager Blair Drummond Safari Park, commented:
“We were so impressed with the quality of entries to the Marine Litter Art Competition. The research and artworks created show that school pupils in Scotland are aware of this issue and able to present their findings in an engaging and informative way.
“It’s clear that the young people who took part in the competition are concerned by the effect that plastic has on our marine life, and they have demonstrated that they can influence changes to improve the situation"
Three other finalists were selected from 28 entries from schools to form part of the exhibit. They were:
- Isobel Mair School – East Renfrewshire
- Breadalbane Academy – Perth and Kinross
- Braidwood Primary School – South Lanarkshire
All will receive a runner up prize of free entry to the Safari Park - where the class will be able to see their masterpiece in place.
Heather McLaughlin, Community Projects Officer, at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said:
“We received many creative entries into this competition and it is very exciting that we managed to involve hundreds of pupils in creative thinking about marine litter - raising awareness about 80% litter on Scotland’s streets ends up in our streams, rivers and seas.
“I would like to congratulate the pupils from Firpark Primary School for their outstanding entry. All of the exhibits have managed to capture the problem and present solutions in a creative and engaging way.
“I hope that all of the visitors to Blair Drummond Safari Park will be able to enjoy the exhibits and further raise awareness of the sheer scale of Scotland’s litter problem.”
Elaine Hopley, who has first-hand experience of the effects that plastic pollution can have on our oceans said:
"The artwork created by the school is brilliant and it is fantastic how these children have embraced such an important issue."
The competition also caught the attention of Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham MSP, who commented:
“We are determined to tackle the scourge of litter polluting our seas and raising awareness of the issue is an important part of this work.
“Congratulations to Firpark Primary School for showing such creativity and taking part in this excellent initiative which is highlighting the impact of litter on our marine life on World Oceans Day.”