“JUNKraft: Global Crisis of Plastic Pollution" at the Putnam Museum & Science Center -- through October 30.

Through Monday, October 30

Putnam Museum & Science Center, 1712 West 12th Street, Davenport IA

A fascinating, important traveling exhibit examining man-made pollution within our planet's oceans, JUNKraft: The Global Crisis of Plastic Pollution will be on display at Davenport's Putnam Museum & Science Center through October 30, with the exhibition's opening day featuring a Q&A with Dr. Marcus Eriksen, the cofounder and director of research for the 5 Gyres Institute who has firsthand experience on water pollution from more than 20 ocean-crossing expeditions.

In 2008, sailors Eriksen and Joel Paschal launched a homemade raft from Los Angeles with the intent to drift to Hawaii, a voyage designed to bring attention to the world's emerging plastic-pollution problem. With no motor or support vessel, the crew took 13 weeks to reach their destination -- a trek three times longer than initially anticipated. Eriksen and Paschal used 15,000 plastic bottles, 26 sailboat masts, and a Cessna aircraft fuselage to construct the raft, which they named JUNK. The bottles were stuffed into 30-foot-long pontoons made from old fishing nets, and while Eriksen and Pascahl were on the ocean, their third partner in the project, Anna Cummins, maintained daily satellite phone contact with the sailors to give constant weather updates about the four hurricanes that swept past them during their journey.

The traveling JUNKraft: The Global Crisis of Plastic Pollution exhibition examines the issue of global plastic pollution within our oceans, as more than 171 trillion pieces of plastic can be found floating on the surface of the ocean, and in excess of 1,200 species worldwide are affected by plastic pollution through ingestion and entanglement. JUNKraft will feature the actual JUNK vessel made from recycled materials, as well as sculptures and other art made out of recycled materials. It is a blend of art, science, and solutions to highlight the impact of humanity on the natural environment, and as Eriksen states, "Bringing the plastic pollution issue to communities inland is the best way to solve the problem at the source. Everyone lives on a watershed, so understanding how plastic travels from rivers to the sea is a huge step in finding solutions."

“JUNKraft shows the importance of our choices and the need for us to speak out for our future by keeping our water clean,” says Kelly Lao, the Putnam's Vice President of Museum Experiences. “The beauty of Marcus Eriksen’s work grabs your attention, then, on closer examination, you see that the work demonstrates the impacts of plastics on living systems, from entire ecosystems to individual entities.”

“We are honored to host this important exhibit at the Putnam” adds Rachael Mullins, President and CEO of the Putnam Museum & Science Center. “JUNKraft offers a unique message that advances our mission to inspire our community to learn about and care for our world.”

JUNKraft: Global Crisis of Plastic Pollution will be on display at the Putnam Museum & Science Center through October 30, with venue hours Mondays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. Exhibit entrance is free with regular $8-9 museum admission, and more information and tickets are available by calling (563)324-1933 and visiting Putnam.org.

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