AoC 2016: Winners and Special Distinctions

First place

Lucy Thompson

12th grade, Charter School

A bird, wings straining in effort, each powerful wingbeat shedding precious feathers.  In their place grow ugly, twisted things.  A mockery made of plastic, metal, paper.  The castoffs of a civilization.  Wasted things thrown out to strangle and pollute.

This bird represents what is happening to our world. The objects that we no longer want are cast away, to clog rivers and poison fish, to strangle birds and contaminate forests.  They do not disappear, your plastic bottles and candy wrappers, your pesticides and fuels.  They seep into the ground and kill it, wrapping their immortal fingers around this planet and squeezing the life from it, from us.

See what is happening; see what we are doing.  Draw your own conclusion.



First place

Astrid Tilton

12th grade, Charter School

To establish a connection between consumers and the environment, I created a series of photographs of plastic bags I found in natural places where they do not belong. The series is simple but effectively raises awareness about plastic pollution by drawing attention to something that often goes unseen. Creating this series has made me more aware of the plastic bags and other materials I use.








First place

Jamilyn Joseph

11th grade, MVRHS

Waste: [slang] to kill; worn down gradually; uninhabited, discarded material

These are the definitions that stand out to me. In today’s day and age, we waste so many things: we waste food, we waste land, we waste trees, we waste water, we waste our bodies, and we are also wasting time.  Waste cannot be captured in just one photograph – there are so many types of waste that I cannot just highlight one.

We cut down trees to make paper, which usually just gets thrown away.  We smoke cigarettes and do drugs that waste our bodies.  We are the only creatures that kill for fun, and not just survival, and that is wasting a life.  We tear down habitats to build homes for ourselves.

Our narcissistic ways must end.  Something needs to get our attention, and one picture of a garbage can or a beach with some trash on it isn’t going to do it.  This dictionary definition describes all types of waste rather than just environmental, which is the most common definition.  In reality, our world is being wasted away and it’s time to get people’s attention.


Special Distinctions

Maisie Jarrell

12th grade, MVRHS

Restaurants, houses, and schools generate large amounts of waste, often made up of a great quantity of food. Food is often carelessly thrown into a garbage can and hauled off to the dump.  Instead of throwing the core of an apple, the top of a carrot, or the peel of an orange into the trash, it is easy to make an additional pile for compost.  Compost not only reduces the cost of disposing of household waste; if done properly, compost fertilizes the soil and can help a garden thrive in its next season.

In my photo, a chicken is pecking at the food waste from my house.  This pile of food waste will decompose and be ready to be folded into soil to strengthen my garden.  The chicken eating the food waste will also help fertilize the garden because her poop is beneficial for the soil.  Composting is a great way to decrease waste.


Gus Nye-Hoy

9th grade, MVRHS

This photo depicts a community bulletin board, which has turned into waste when no one cleared or removed it after an order to stop posting. It is no longer a free place to communicate -- alive, active, colorful.  Instead, the thing that was alive has died, now a piece of garbage, as the free spirit of communication has also died with it. The board is still there and decaying, like all the lost messages.



Isabelle Crawford

12th grade, MVRHS

This photograph is of a dumpster filled with old TV sets at the Oak Bluffs dump.  As our society advances rapidly, and our gadgets are being produced at a tremendously fast rate, we are constantly throwing out the old to make room for the new.  Electronic waste is becoming a bigger and bigger problem every year. 

This scene stood out to me because every day millions of Americans are getting rid of their old TVs, computers, and smartphones, but many of them don't know what happens to them after they are dropped at the local dump.  Each year millions of tons of E-waste is transported to gigantic waste dumps in underdeveloped African nations, like Ghana.  The people living in these waste slums are employed to harvest any reusable materials such as the copper in the wires, but one byproduct is toxic fumes that can cause health problems.  Most of the people living around E-waste dumps die before they reach the age of 30 due to the hazardous conditions they are exposed to.

This photograph not only shows the large amount of electronic waste being produced by our Island, but it also suggests a lack of awareness we have about where it ends up after we leave it at the dump.


Adelaide Keene

11th grade, MVRHS

Walking through the mechanic room at my Dad’s pit, I was astonished by the amount of plastic, chemicals, and general waste that just that one room contained.  After doing some research, I discovered we have manufactured more plastic in the last ten years than we have during all of the last century.  It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade, which means we are producing more waste than our world can keep up with.

Although humans are the cause of this massive overproduction of waste materials, it is not too late to cut down on our own individual carbon footprint, and make a change for the better by using biodegradable plastic substitutes. I will encourage my Dad to not only try and cut down on plastic, but also to spend the time and energy to be certain that the chemicals are properly disposed of.


Monica Carroll

11th grade, MVRHS

I took this photo at Menemsha Hills to show how trash is polluting our beaches.  It looked like someone had collected the trash and put it in a lobster pot in an effort to clean up the area.  But the litter remains, lobster pot and all. This trash – either washed up on shore or left there thoughtlessly – could be recycled or properly disposed of, but instead it is littering the beach.  The pots themselves could be brought in before a storm to ensure they don't end up on our beaches.



Angela Mello

11th grade, MVRHS

I wanted to draw something that would be a big eye-opener and would inspire people to treat this world better and to make smarter decisions about waste.  I tried to make it very clear that waste/trash is affecting our planet – I wanted to somehow illustrate that the world is sad from all of this stinky, dirty waste being thrown at it.  Everyone needs to reduce and recycle to preserve this earth and protect everyone and everything on it.




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