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Recycling Trash Into Art

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Whereas most people view trash as a nuisance, some children in Colorado regard it as their personal muse.

Artwork by children in Boulder, Colo., is being showcased in "Enviro-Art," an exhibit at the University of Colorado Museum in Boulder. The collection, cosponsored by a local trash disposal company, challenged students in the Boulder area to find new ways to use what most people regard as junk.

Most of the 200 submissions focus on the animal kingdom, although the creatures owe as much to the landfill as to nature and imagination. A group of 5th graders created a metal crab with a tuna-fish-can shell, bobbypin legs, and pincers made from soda-can pop tops. The political overtones of some works suggest their creators are environmental activists in the making. One piece features an oil can spilling its contents onto a bed of flowers where a life-size, Bambi-esque fawn lies in repose.

"The kids' works show a very cheerful and positive look at recycling," says Becky Phillips, the coordinator of the exhibit.

The award-winning "Recycled Rainforest," created by 5th graders at Lafayette Elementary School, features a rainforest the size of a shoe-box, complete with newspaper trees, Styrofoam lions, and egg-carton turtles.

The students' desire to preserve nature didn't end with the exhibit. Now they are saving aluminum cans to raise money to buy a piece of a real rainforest. --S.K.G.

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