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BWB NEWS 03/27/2018

BWB Grantee Highlight: PLARNit for the Planet in Nevada, USA

Melisa Maxey leads PLARNit Workshops in Reno, Nevada, and was another first-time BWB Grant Recipient in 2017.  She wrote to us to tell us more about the workshops, how they have been going, and future plans:

“Each hour-long workshop offers students and adults alike a hands-on educational opportunity to learn about the devastating results plastics cause to our environment and in our oceans (specifically for sea turtles), and how to reuse/re-purpose plastic grocery bags through a process called PLARN (plastic yarn).  I bring all of the supplies and I give each participant a reusable cloth bag (to use instead of plastic) and a gift card describing how they are helping marine life and the environment, and real world examples of things to do in their own communities.


[Our first workshop] sat 16 8-year-old students from the Imagination Station (pure science/pure fun) program alongside 40 seniors at the More to Life Health Care Center in Sparks, NV, where each assisted the other in the making of plarn, a craft that was new to all of them.  Our workshop on January 31 was held in partnership with Volunteers of America Sierra Manor I and Bernice Matthews Elementary School.  Each workshop changes the community one person at a time because of the knowledge gained. Participants typically don’t know that plastic grocery bags are not recyclable and most don’t think about it or know what to do about it.  This project empowers the person to do better.

Each workshop offers a fun environment that integrates several of Burning Man’s 10 Principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Participation and Leave No Trace.  So far, 57 people have participated, and over 500 people have experienced the creations of our workshops.

Future plans include: four more BWB Grant-funded workshops, to be completed before May 2018, scheduling workshops through the Washoe County Library System, continuing to make plarn so that I can crochet a wall hanging to be displayed in the community, continuing to participate and educate at Nevada Recycles tabling events, and continuing to conduct PLARNit workshops, in an effort to stop more people from using plastic grocery bags unnecessarily.  I would love to engage in speaking opportunities pertaining to our project at local and regional Burning Man events.

I absolutely love being able to share with friends, family and the community that I’m a BWB grant recipient.  Thank you so much for the great work you are doing.”

Melisa Maxey of PLARNit shows off her teaching tools: the impacts of plastic waste in oceans on sea turtles, who mistake the bags for their food source, jellyfish, and a designer tote bag with flower, made entirely from PLARN!


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