Young kids are doing their part to help save the environment through art.
P.S. 99 in Kew Gardens held its Talented and Gifted (TAG) End of Year Fair on Wednesday, June 4, with an emphasis placed on the issue of climate change.
The event began at 6 p.m. and featured six giant puppets that sixth-graders at the school, located at 82-37 Kew Gardens Road, made in collaboration with artist Ariane Burgess.
Burgess, who has worked with the school for three years, was commissioned by Maple Grove Cemetery to work with the students.
She said that the idea of making the puppets, which stand eight feet tall, came from the art project that she worked on with the same students last year - the Climate Change Labyrinth, located in the school’s playground.
For that project, each of the students studied one aspect of climate change.
“Each student chooses their own topic and does extensive research,” said Roberta Nelson, a TAG teacher at P.S. 99.
Then, they painted something to do with what they studied onto the labyrinth.
This year, Burgess said that the students decided to focus on one aspect of climate change - deforestation - for their art project.
“Deforestation is a main contributor to climate change,” Burgess said.
In particular, the students focused on New York City’s use of rainforest wood.
Burgess said that outside of the tropics, “New York City is the largest user of rainforest wood.”
She explained that there are alternatives to using rainforest wood, including recycled plastic lumber and locally grown hard woods.
One of the puppets is even named after one of the alternatives - “Recycled Plastic Lumber Being.” Another puppet, “Environment’s Future,” gave people goose bumps when they saw it, Burgess said.
“Each puppet contributes to telling a story,” she added. “They [the students] chose how the story was going to go.”
During the project, the students also learned how to write press releases and they learned how a bill becomes a law at both the state and city levels.