Wire whale teaches students about plastic waste in oceans

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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV)— Visitors to Bessie Weller Elementary School in Staunton might have seen the sculpture of a whale outside this week.

Ms. Monger's second grade class fills the whale sculpture with plastic. | Credit: WHSV

The wire sculpture was built by a professor at the Virginia Military Institute in partnership with Shenandoah Green. The group had the whale created as part of the Earthtober campaign to reduce single-use plastics.

The whale is modeled after a young whale that died in the Philippines was found with 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach.

"I hope whales do not eat plastic no more because I don't want them to die," Quemelia, a second grader at Bessie Weller, said.

"It's not fair for whales," Emery, also a second grader, said.

Throughout the week, students filled the whale with plastic while they learned more about recycling and the impact of plastic on the oceans.

"This is a huge problem and they're hopefully going to be the ones to figure out how we can use less plastic, especially single use plastic," Heidi Roberson, school improvement leader, at Bessie Weller said.

After its time at Bessie Weller, Shenandoah Green hopes to the whale to other schools in the valley, so students can see the impact of plastic use.

The whale will also be featured in the Staunton and Waynesboro Christmas parades.