Jack ’21 and Addie ’23 W. saw a problem and started working to bring about change and make a difference.
Their efforts were initiated after seeing a photo of a sea turtle with a plastic straw lodged in its nose and doctors working to extract it.
“The straw was stuck,” says Addie, “and the turtle was bleeding.”
The children began thinking about the plastic straws used at lunchat Brookwood and decided that was something the community should stop and think about.
They began to research plastic straws and learned that 90% of all trash in the ocean is plastic that never biodegrades, and that 44% of all seabirds and 22% of fish and other marine animals have eaten plastic. Straws are in the top 10 of all marine trash.
“Plastic straws never go awayso they can go from one animal and then hurt another animal,” explains Addie.
“I’m a fisherman, and I don’t want plastic straws hurting the fish and wildlife,” adds Jack.
The pair decided to see if they could encourage change at Brookwood. They shared their research and proposal with Ms. Caron who suggested they gather community opinions and talk to Chef Chris. Jack and Addie went to work.
Jack surveyed his class, sharing the stories of animals hurt by plastic materials. Nearly all students surveyed chose to eliminate straws from lunch. He also talked to many adults in the community, from Mrs. Evans and Ms. Johnson to Nurse Paula and Ms. Drury. Most adults were also on board, choosing to eliminate straws or switch to a biodegradable option.
They observed straw use at lunch and saw unused ones thrown away and that, “some kids use two straws at a time just for fun.”
They also spoke with Chef Chris who looked into usage and found that the community uses about 250 straws a week. Most are used on “chocolate milk Wednesdays.” He also found some eco-friendly straw options, and suggested using a dispenser that allows people to take just one straw at a time.
The duo brought all the information back to Ms. Caron and is now working to finalize their efforts. They hope their work will ultimately foster change in the community.
Pictured: Addie W. and Jack W. with Chef Chris