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Local Schools Win Shedd Aquarium's Wreath-Cycled Challenge

Chicagoland Students Helped Deck Shedd’s Halls with Holiday “Wreaths to Save the Sea”

December 18, 2017

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge, featuring foam and coffee filters playfully decorated to look like snowflakes and snowmen attached to a ring of red and green crepe paper.

Overall Winner: Pre-K – Grade 2: Edwards Elementary (Ms. Juarez's class)

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge, featuring various green and blue animals cut from recycled paper atop a careful arrangement of used plastic blister packs. A large cardboard stingray, colored in black with blue dots, swims above the round scene.

Overall Winner: Grades 3 – 5: Roosevelt Elementary (Ms. Brown Tucker's class)

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge, featuring upcycled paper and plastic forming a circle comprised of three arrows labeled "reduce, reuse, recycle" and colorful scenery including a fish and a shark within the circle.

Overall Winner: Grades 6 – 8: Eberhart Elementary (Ms. Rodriguez's class)

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge, featuring a plastic bottle cleverly covered in scraps of paper like feathers to form a seagull.

Overall Winner: Grades 9 – 12: Jefferson High School (Mr. Stenberg’s class)

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge, featuring a fish and several small octopuses made from plastic bottles, with colorful plastics and creatively-painted toilet paper tubes forming a frame for the scene.

Most Creative: Pre-K – Grade 2: Sonnets Academy (Ms. Dolewski’s class)

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge. Half of the wreath is covered in blue circles of paper, the other half in circles of what looks like slices of wine corks, giving the impression of a beach viewed from above. Slips of paper around the edge of the scene declare "Bye Pollution Hello Ocean".

Most Creative: Grades 3 – 5: Mark Twain Elementary School (Ms. Pantos' class)

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge. The round frame is covered entirely in blue and yellow paper, resembling a beach viewed from above. Many small paper animals have been added to both halves of the wreath, and letters in colorful circles declare "save the sea".

Most Creative: Grades 6 – 8: Mark Twain Elementary School (Ms. Hively’s class)

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge, featuring animals creatively and colorfully made from painted and sculpted plastic bottles. A large red plastic bottle lobster forms the piece de resistance at the bottom of the frame.

Most Creative: Grades 9 – 12: St. Francis High School (Ms. Mantooth Humbert's class)

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge. Blue and purple paper dolphins and the bottoms of colorfully-painted plastic bottles are attached to the round metal frame of the reef.

Best Educational Message: Pre-K – Grade 2: Sacred Heart (Mrs. Keen's and Ms. Gibson's class)

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge. Hand-drwan faces are attached to the metal frame of the wreath, and the center area is half-filled by a piece of recycled paper colored blue with crayon and decorated with many small, colorful fish.

Best Educational Message: Grades 3 – 5: Pope John XXIII School (Ms. Patterson's class)

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge. Many colorful fish and jellyfish made from plastic bottles are attached mostly to the bottom half of the wreath frame.

Best Educational Message: Grades 6 – 8: Reinberg Elementary School (Ms. Skorb's class)

A colorful from Shedd's 2017 Wreath-Cycled classroom challenge, the round metal frame filled in with plastic bottle caps and with green paper fins and head attached to make the likeness of a colorful green turtle.

Best Educational Message: Grades 9 – 12: St. Charles East High School (Ms. Savickas' class)

A colorfully decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge, featuring many small plastic bottles decorated with little paper feet and scarves, and painted to look like penguins, attached around the edge of the round metal frame.

Fan Favorite On-Site: Northside Catholic Academy (Ms. McDavid's class)

A creatively decorated wreath from Shedd's Wreath-Cycled 2017 challenge, featuring plastic cups cut to form flat "flowers" and with their bases painted blue, green and yellow.

Fan Favorite Online

More than 120 hand-crafted wreaths made by Chicagoland school children decked the halls of Shedd Aquarium this holiday season as part of an educational program called the Wreath-Cycled Classroom Challenge, hosted by the aquarium’s Auxiliary Board. During a special family event yesterday, 14 classrooms were recognized for their unique wreaths, which will continue to hang around the aquarium’s Caribbean Reef exhibit through January 8.

Using only 100% recyclable materials, students from preschool to high school created the wreaths after learning how recycling or using reusable products can help protect our planet’s oceans, lakes and rivers from the harms of plastic pollution. Along with their wreaths, classrooms submitted essays to explain ways that they can protect their waterways, such as using reusable water bottles or choosing not to use straws. Each classroom took its own unique approach to addressing the theme.

The classrooms selected as the Overall Winners will receive a sponsored field trip to Shedd Aquarium, including bus transportation and lunch. Other category winners will receive gift cards for purchasing classroom supplies.

The 2017 Wreath-Cycled Classroom Challenge winners:

Overall Winners

Pre-K – Grade 2:  Edwards Elementary (Ms. Juarez's class)

Grades 3 – 5: Roosevelt Elementary (Ms. Brown Tucker's class)

Grades 6 – 8: Eberhart Elementary (Ms. Rodriguez's class)

Grades 9 – 12: Jefferson High School (Mr. Stenberg’s class)

Most Creative

Pre-K – Grade 2:  Sonnets Academy (Ms. Dolewski’s class)

Grades 3 – 5: Mark Twain Elementary School (Ms. Pantos' class)

Grades 6 – 8: Mark Twain Elementary School (Ms. Hively’s class)

Grades 9 – 12: St. Francis High School (Ms. Mantooth Humbert's class)

Best Educational Message

Pre-K – Grade 2: Sacred Heart (Mrs. Keen's and Ms. Gibson's class)

Grades 3 – 5: Pope John XXIII School (Ms. Patterson's class)

Grades 6 – 8: Reinberg Elementary School (Ms. Skorb's class)

Grades 9 – 12: St. Charles East High School (Ms. Savickas' class)

Fan Favorite On-Site

Northside Catholic Academy (Ms. McDavid's class)

Fan Favorite Online

Irving Elementary School (Ms. Cevaal's class)

BACKGROUND: The Wreath-Cycled Classroom Challenge is a holiday tradition designed to promote creativity and conservation among teachers and their classrooms, and encourage them to reduce, reuse and wreath-cycle. This year’s theme – “Wreaths to Save the Sea” – was inspired by the newest exhibit at Shedd, Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea, a traveling art exhibition that seeks to raise awareness about the threats of plastic pollution in our waterways. The wreaths currently hang nearby 15 giant sea life sculptures from the Washed Ashore collection, which are made entirely from plastic marine debris.