Sculptures created from items found on Pemaquid Beach by students in Lincoln Academy’s IDEAL program. These will be on display at Rising Tide Coop from March 3-30, with an opening reception on March 9 from 3-5 pm.

Lincoln Academy’s IDEAL (Innovatively Designed Education for All Learners) program is specially designed to help non-traditional learners thrive. Students who participate in IDEAL are learners who are part of the LA special education program and learn best outside of a traditional classroom. These students particularly benefit from a hands-on, individualized curriculum. In addition to academic subjects and career and technical training, IDEAL students spend significant time on project-based learning initiatives to help them build connections to the community.

Through project-based learning, students engage in learning about a particular subject for a 6 weeks blocks of time, culminating in a product or presentation. Through their study of plastics and their impact on their community and the broader community, students and staff decided to look more closely at the impact of plastics in the Damariscotta area and visited such places as Glidden Point Oyster Farm. Many students and their families depend of the local waters for their livelihood. Until this project students were not aware of how the disposal of plastics impacts them directly in so many ways.

IDEAL beach clean up

Students in Lincoln Academy’s IDEAL program collected beach trash last fall, and used the trash to create art pieces now on display at Rising Tide Coop.

In late fall, IDEAL students made an effort to clean up Pemaquid Beach as a part of their study on microplastic. From initial viewing, the beach looked pristine. After closer examination, students and staff collected and filled five large garbage bags within thirty minutes. The trash was primarily single use plastic or from lobster boats. With these found objects, students were prompted to create pieces of art to create awareness of this world wide problem. Syerra Holmstrom, one of the student participants, describes the project of creating artwork as “reusing once used objects for a different purpose.”

“This project gave students a perspective on how the materials we use without a thought take a major toll on our environment,” said IDEAL teacher Janna Civvitolo, one if IDEAL’s lead teachers. “Their awareness of plastic continues to expand and, we hope this exhibition will help viewers pause and expand their own awareness of trash in the ocean.”

The art show at Rising Tide was coordinated by Ida Chapman, who works in Lincoln Academy’s Special Education and IDEAL programs as an Ed Tech and helped with the cleanup and art project. The beach art collection created by IDEAL participants will be on display at Rising Tide from March 3-30, with a student reception on Saturday, March 9 from 3-5 pm.