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Artists and oceanographers collect trash from Alaska’s beaches in Gyre project

Anne Raup
A sow and two cubs look for clams in the tide zone of Hallo Bay. The R/V Norseman, the Gyre expedition ship, is anchored in the background. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition photographer Kip Evans photographs a sow and her two cubs looking for clams in the tide zone of Hallo Bay. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Members of the Gyre expedtion (from left) Kate Schafer, Julie Decker and Howard Ferren take a break from collecting debris. Schafer is an educator from Harker School, Decker is the curator of the expedition and the chief curator at the Anchorage Museum. Ferren is the expedition leader and the director of conservation at the Alaska SeaLife Center. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs takes pictures of fellow travelers, Monica Garcia, director of education, Jane Rabadi, exhibition designer and Julie Decker, chief curator all with the Anchorage Museum. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Julie Decker, curator for the Gyre project and Sonya Kelliher-Combs meet with expedition leader Howard Ferren on the beach at Hallo Bay. Decker and Kelliher-Combs flew in for the day while Ferren and the rest of the expedition crew came via the R/V Norseman. Ferren is sporting artistic headwear made by other expedition members. It's made with debris, collected during the journey along the coast of Alaska. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Expedition artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs and NOAA scientist Peter Murphy work to dislodge a section of fishing net that is entangled with driftwood. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Expedition artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs and NOAA scientist Peter Murphy cut free a section of fishing net that was entangled with driftwood. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Anchorage Museum exhibition designer Jane Rabadi picks up a bouy on Hallo Bay. It was one of many pieces of marine debris picked up along the remote beach. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Anchorage Museum exhibition designer Jane Rabadi examines a bouy with Katmai National Park superintendent Diane Chung. The bouy was one of many pieces of marine debris picked up along the remote beach. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
A soap bottle is embedded in beach sand at Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition members take in the scene of Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park. The Gyre expedition's last full day was spent collecting debris at Hallo Bay. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
A fishing float was one piece of tons of debris found on Hallo Bay. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition members move down the beach with bags full of marine debris, collected from the area. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition artist Pamela Longobardi talks about the moving experience of watching a sow and three cubs a very close range. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Marine debris is abundant on the beach at Hallo Bay, despite the area already having been cleaned. The fishing nets, ropes and line are very difficult to untangle from drift wood. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
The R/V Norseman carries the tons of debris collected during the Gyre expedition. The garbage was transported to the Kenai Peninsula Borough landfill. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Table centerpieces were made from debris found during the Gyre expedition. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
A fishing float with Chinese characters was found during the Gyre expedition. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
A sow and two cubs look for clams in the tide zone of Hallo Bay. The R/V Norseman, the Gyre expedition ship, is anchored in the background. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition photographer Kip Evans photographs a sow and her two cubs looking for clams in the tide zone of Hallo Bay. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Members of the Gyre expedtion (from left) Kate Schafer, Julie Decker and Howard Ferren take a break from collecting debris. Schafer is an educator from Harker School, Decker is the curator of the expedition and the chief curator at the Anchorage Museum. Ferren is the expedition leader and the director of conservation at the Alaska SeaLife Center. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs takes pictures of fellow travelers, Monica Garcia, director of education, Jane Rabadi, exhibition designer and Julie Decker, chief curator all with the Anchorage Museum. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Julie Decker, curator for the Gyre project and Sonya Kelliher-Combs meet with expedition leader Howard Ferren on the beach at Hallo Bay. Decker and Kelliher-Combs flew in for the day while Ferren and the rest of the expedition crew came via the R/V Norseman. Ferren is sporting artistic headwear made by other expedition members. It's made with debris, collected during the journey along the coast of Alaska. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Expedition artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs and NOAA scientist Peter Murphy work to dislodge a section of fishing net that is entangled with driftwood. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Expedition artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs and NOAA scientist Peter Murphy cut free a section of fishing net that was entangled with driftwood. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Anchorage Museum exhibition designer Jane Rabadi picks up a bouy on Hallo Bay. It was one of many pieces of marine debris picked up along the remote beach. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Anchorage Museum exhibition designer Jane Rabadi examines a bouy with Katmai National Park superintendent Diane Chung. The bouy was one of many pieces of marine debris picked up along the remote beach. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
A soap bottle is embedded in beach sand at Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition members take in the scene of Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park. The Gyre expedition's last full day was spent collecting debris at Hallo Bay. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
A fishing float was one piece of tons of debris found on Hallo Bay. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition members move down the beach with bags full of marine debris, collected from the area. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition artist Pamela Longobardi talks about the moving experience of watching a sow and three cubs a very close range. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Marine debris is abundant on the beach at Hallo Bay, despite the area already having been cleaned. The fishing nets, ropes and line are very difficult to untangle from drift wood. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
The R/V Norseman carries the tons of debris collected during the Gyre expedition. The garbage was transported to the Kenai Peninsula Borough landfill. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Table centerpieces were made from debris found during the Gyre expedition. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
A fishing float with Chinese characters was found during the Gyre expedition. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
A sow and two cubs look for clams in the tide zone of Hallo Bay. The R/V Norseman, the Gyre expedition ship, is anchored in the background. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition photographer Kip Evans photographs a sow and her two cubs looking for clams in the tide zone of Hallo Bay. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Members of the Gyre expedtion (from left) Kate Schafer, Julie Decker and Howard Ferren take a break from collecting debris. Schafer is an educator from Harker School, Decker is the curator of the expedition and the chief curator at the Anchorage Museum. Ferren is the expedition leader and the director of conservation at the Alaska SeaLife Center. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs takes pictures of fellow travelers, Monica Garcia, director of education, Jane Rabadi, exhibition designer and Julie Decker, chief curator all with the Anchorage Museum. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Julie Decker, curator for the Gyre project and Sonya Kelliher-Combs meet with expedition leader Howard Ferren on the beach at Hallo Bay. Decker and Kelliher-Combs flew in for the day while Ferren and the rest of the expedition crew came via the R/V Norseman. Ferren is sporting artistic headwear made by other expedition members. It's made with debris, collected during the journey along the coast of Alaska. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Expedition artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs and NOAA scientist Peter Murphy work to dislodge a section of fishing net that is entangled with driftwood. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Expedition artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs and NOAA scientist Peter Murphy cut free a section of fishing net that was entangled with driftwood. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Anchorage Museum exhibition designer Jane Rabadi picks up a bouy on Hallo Bay. It was one of many pieces of marine debris picked up along the remote beach. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Anchorage Museum exhibition designer Jane Rabadi examines a bouy with Katmai National Park superintendent Diane Chung. The bouy was one of many pieces of marine debris picked up along the remote beach. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
A soap bottle is embedded in beach sand at Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition members take in the scene of Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park. The Gyre expedition's last full day was spent collecting debris at Hallo Bay. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
A fishing float was one piece of tons of debris found on Hallo Bay. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition members move down the beach with bags full of marine debris, collected from the area. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Gyre expedition artist Pamela Longobardi talks about the moving experience of watching a sow and three cubs a very close range. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Marine debris is abundant on the beach at Hallo Bay, despite the area already having been cleaned. The fishing nets, ropes and line are very difficult to untangle from drift wood. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
The R/V Norseman carries the tons of debris collected during the Gyre expedition. The garbage was transported to the Kenai Peninsula Borough landfill. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
Table centerpieces were made from debris found during the Gyre expedition. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup
A fishing float with Chinese characters was found during the Gyre expedition. The Gyre project is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center to study and explore the global issue of marine debris. On June 12, 2013, scientists and artists with the expedition, spent the day at Hallo Bay collecting debris, watching bears and discussing the issues.
Anne Raup

What brought nationally recognized scientists and artists from around the world together on a remote Alaska beach this month?

Trash.

During a hot, sunny June week, a team of oceanographers, technologists, conservationists and artists explored beaches on the southern coastline of the Kenai Peninsula, Shuyak and Afognak Islands and Katmai National Park and Preserve on the Alaska Peninsula.

The expedition was part of a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, exploring the impacts of marine debris on a small piece of Alaska's 6,640-mile coastline. The project is titled Gyre after the giant, slowly twisting eddies that hold much of the trash now swirling in the ocean currents.

"Marine debris is a problem that our ocean and beaches have been facing for a long time, especially in Alaska," said Peter Murphy, NOAA's regional coordinator for Alaska. "It's a problem with many challenges, but also a problem that can be solved by working together to change behaviors and prevent more debris getting in the ocean, and that takes people being aware of the problem."

Human-generated debris in the oceans of the world causes an assortment of troubles for wildlife. Animals become entangled in fishing nets and line. Birds ingest small pieces of trash, then die of starvation.

There are five large ocean-based gyres that contain tons of plastics. The plastic breaks down to the molecular level, but never disappears.

"Toxins are percolating up the food chain," said Howard Ferren, director of conservation at the Alaska SeaLife Center.

Oceanographers study the movement of the debris that the oceans contain and take samples for analysis. Ferren said that "all the attributes which make plastics commercially viable make them durable trash." He hopes to educate people to understand that, while plastics have a necessary role in society, they need to be manufactured and disposed of properly.

As the expedition portion of the project wound down, the focus turned from science to art. Five artists on the expedition, as well as more than a dozen additional artists from around the world, now plan to turn the debris collected into installation art pieces. Resulting artwork will be exhibited at the Anchorage Museum from February to September 2014.

Julie Decker, chief curator of the museum and the curator for the Gyre project said the purpose of the artistic component was to foster awareness and discussion.

"It's a look at plastic as a modern material (good and bad and everywhere in between), its travel around the world via our oceans, and a look at how human action and consumption can become global, not just local, through ways we don't often think about," she said. "The artists are looking at their own beaches, as collectors and researchers, [to] create artwork to convey this contrast between man and nature, to suggest the impact of consumption and the things we discard on our environment, and their own personal connections to the ocean."


BY ANNE RAUP
Anchorage Daily News