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Area 4-H'ers 'Internalize' the message to reduce, reuse, recycle

Monday, August 18, 2008

A plastic sculpture stuffed with recyclable materials is on display in the 4-H Exhibits Building at the Iowa State Fair.
AMES, Iowa -- If you look through the plastic wrap and packing tape you'll see the crumpled paper, plastic bottles and other recyclable materials stuffed inside the life-size, clear plastic, person-sculpture in the 4-H Exhibits Building at the Iowa State Fair. This is art with a message, handwritten on the poster in her lap: It's time to "internalize" reducing, reusing and recycling into our very being.

The sculpture takes the shape of Addy Boettcher, a Pocahontas County 4-H'er, who first gave a presentation in her county on whole body packing tape sculpture.

To create the original sculpture, she wrapped herself in plastic wrap, arm by arm, leg by leg and so on. Next she wrapped packing tape over the plastic wrap, then carefully cut open the various plastic parts to remove them from her body. Finally, she put the parts back together to make the sculpture.

The presentation went so well that she was encouraged to take the plastic sculpture to her county fair as a visual arts exhibit.

"My new goal was to recycle my whole body sculpture, stuff it with recyclables and add an educational message about recycling," Addy wrote in her exhibit goal statement.

Now her recycled recyclable sculpture encourages State Fair visitors to "save the world" and "make every day Earth Day."

Other 4-H'ers also have internalized the message to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Alyssa Damman of Carroll County urges citizens to ask themselves what they can recycle. "Each month Americans throw away enough recyclable glass containers to fill a giant skyscraper -- that amount will take over 4,000 years to decompose." she writes. "To produce the weekly Sunday newspaper requires that 500,000 trees must be cut down."

Bre Stephenson of Benton County lists 11 simple things to Go Green, Save Green, such as skip the bottled water and bring a reusable bottle as well as take a reusable shopping bag to the store.

Emily Hackenmiller of Boone County suggests that Americans recycle denim. "About 80 percent of what Americans throw out is recyclable. Denim pencils don't consist of any wood. Instead they are made out of 20 to 30 percent recycled blue denim jeans that have been ground up. The rest is recycled post consumer paper."

Denim also can be turned into jeans purses, blankets, even insulation, she writes.

Maddie Beeler, a Madison County 4-H'er is exhibiting her recycled denim rug in the personal development class.

4-H'ers green suggestions don't stop with plastic and denim. Blake Scurr, Poweshiek County, and Emily Hansen, Warren County, each created rainwater collection systems from recycled barrels, rubber hose and pipe.

Michelle Buboltz, Cass County, recycled a clarinet, two shovels, fence supports, some chain and other scrap metal to create "Esmerelda," her welded clarinet player sculpture.

Other exhibits include jewelry made from recycled materials, homemade recycled paper, information on cutting "e-waste" (discarded electronics) and additional tips on going green.

See all these exhibits and more in the air-conditioned 4-H Exhibits Building at the southwest corner of the fairgrounds.

In Iowa the 4-H program is administered by Iowa State University Extension 4-H Youth Development and headquartered on the university campus in Ames.

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