Creativity institute co-sponsoring ocean pollution exhibit contest

Carol LaFayette

An all expense-paid trip to the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington D.C., April 25-26, 2014, awaits the winner of a contest, co-sponsored by the Institute for Applied Creativity, to create a festival exhibit informing kids about plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

A rapidly growing mass of trash already twice the size of Texas, weighing 3.5 million tons and consisting mostly of plastic, is floating in the Pacific Ocean; giant trash heaps like it can now be found in all the world’s oceans. Sea animals, mistaking the plastic for prey, starve to death because their stomachs become filled with undigestible plastic.

The institute is co-sponsoring the ocean pollution awareness contest with From the Bow Seat, a nonprofit organization aiming to increase young people’s awareness of the danger pollution presents to the oceans and help teachers inspire the next generation of ocean caretakers.  

“We're looking for a hands-on activity for young people that illustrates the problem by mixing art and design with this science and engineering problem,” said Carol LaFayette, the institute’s director and associate professor of visualization.

Contest organizers are looking for an activity that’s light, hands-on and fun, using no food or toxic materials. Plastic may be used only if it's recyclable and later recycled. The exhibit must fit on a 2’ x 6’ table and engage young people from kindergarten through high school or a certain age group within this age range.

An email description of the proposed exhibit is due by 5 p.m. Feb. 10.

The winner of the contest will present the exhibit at the festival in Washington D.C.’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center, billed by organizers as the world’s largest science festival in the United States.

For more information, see the contest rules or contact Lafayette at

posted January 28, 2014