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Visitors at Caledon on April 21 will pick up trash along the shoreline, then face the fun task of making something creative out of it
Date published: 4/13/2012
Lots of people might pick up litter on Earth Day, April 22, but few have plans for their trash the way folks at Caledon Natural Area do.
Park volunteers, artistic and community groups and officials from the Navy base at Dahlgren will join with visitors in turning litter into works of art.
On April 21, Caledon, in King George County, will host a Trash to Art event that combines the not-so-entertaining act of picking up trash with the more exciting prospect of making something out of it.
Visitors of all ages are encouraged to scour the 3.5 miles of Potomac River shoreline from 10 a.m. to noon. The park will provide transportation to the river and bags for trash.
They'll encourage those gathered to pick up items typically washed up with the daily tide, as well as those discarded by boaters.
That might include fishing tackle and crab pots, coolers, combs and discarded baseball caps.
From 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., those gathered under picnic pavilions will turn the scraps into sculptures. The art forms will be judged at 2:30 p.m., and their creators can take their works home, sell them at an auction to benefit Friends of Caledon or put them in a recycling container, said Carol Sparbel, a park volunteer.
Mike Callahan, a Caledon volunteer and Maryland teacher, came up with the idea to combine cleaning up with creativity.
Then, King George artists Carrol Morgan and Darlene Wilkinson tested the notion of making art from trash washed up on the beach. Among their creations is a hanging mobile shaped to look like a "sassy woman," Sparbel said, with a headpiece spiked with a rusty thermometer and dangling earrings made of plastic pieces and a soda can top.
The mobile's head is a semicircle shaped piece of wood, her mouth, an aqua-colored egg carton.
Dirty plastic cups and dented cans form her arms, and bolts and buttons of some kind make her eyes.
"Some people would look at the trash and see nothing," Sparbel said. "They saw a sassy-looking woman. They are awesome and so willing to help."
The Trash to Art event is sponsored by Caledon, the Fredericksburg Center for Creative Arts, the Dahlgren Area Chief Petty Officers Association, the Alice Ferguson Foundation and Friends of Caledon.
The Dahlgren officers, who volunteer regularly in King George and Maryland, will provide a picnic lunch. The suggested donation is $4.
So far, about 60 people have signed up to participate, Sparbel said. The list includes Boy Scouts and base personnel, church groups, families and home-schoolers.
Those interested in participating are asked to register by Saturday, April 14 by calling 540/663-3861 or emailing
Email: email@example.com. They must provide their names, phone numbers and number of people in group. Participants also are asked to bring basic sculpture-building supplies, such as lightweight wire, string, utility scissors, pliers or wire cutters and a hole punch or awl.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425