Ocean Ranger Activity Station: Ocean Plastic Pollution Awareness through Art

Created for the Colorado Ocean Coalition, these tabling instructions make it easy to engage Ocean Rangers in making their own ocean plastic art object. My favorite part is “feeding” the ocean critter trash to demonstrate how it stays in their system as an undigested danger.


Engage youth and adults in hands-on activity to increase awareness of ocean plastic
pollution problems and solutions.


  • Scissors, plastic trash (collect a few weeks’ worth), animal shapes, hot glue, hand stapler.
  • Educational visuals: gyres, plastic soup jars, waste reduction tip sheets, albatross picture.


  1. Ranger selects animal shape. Suggest a shark, turtle or manta ray.
    1. Flat pre-cut form or cut one out of reused cardboard, plastic, old banner, etc.
    2. 3-D form. Turtle shell from top of plastic bottle, fish bottle as body. Ranger can then fill in the container with different plastics that the animal would eat (demonstrating how animals confuse it with food, creating serious problems).
  2. Rangers glue on plastic pieces as fins, eyes, mouth, etc.
  3. Provide some completed examples.
  4. Discuss the negative impacts of plastic on these animals and their ecosystems as the Rangers create their animals. (Examples: turtles eat plastic bags as they look like one of their favorite foods: jelly fish. Plastic doesn’t go away, it just gets smaller and becomes a toxic soup in our oceans.)
  5. Talk about solutions to the problem, including refusing (skip the straw, buy less stuff), reusing (reusable water bottles, bring Tupperware for take-out/left-overs), and recycling (including how to properly recycle their animal creation). Ask for their ideas. Ask for their commitment—what is one thing they can try for a week? Ask them to spread the message: what is one thing they can tell others about for a week?

Download these Activity Instructions and see more pictures here: Ocean Ranger Activity Station – Plastic Art