GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Animals of a different kind will be on display at John Ball Zoo this season. The zoo is hosting 16 pieces from Washed Ashore, a traveling exhibit with a message of waterway conservation.
“It’s bringing forward the issue of plastics in our waterways and trash in our waterways. This art really brings that to their attention,” said Andy McIntyre, the John Ball Zoo COO.
Around the zoo, visitors will find 16 larger than life animals made completely of beach debris.
“When you look at the sculptures, you’ll see things that actually trigger your memories, ‘Oh I’ve used that before. I’ve had that before,’” said McIntyre.
A team from John Ball Zoo helped build Rosa The Bald Eagle. Rosa can be found near the entrance to the zoo.
There’s a plaque with each piece with educational information and a list of items — like beer cans, water bottles, shoes and lighters — visitors can search for within the sculpture.
McIntyre pointed out it’s not only about keeping waterways free of debris, but also about keeping harmful items away from animals.
“This isn’t just about it floating somewhere, it’s about getting it out of the environment, so animals don’t ingest it either,” McIntyre said.
The animals of Washed Ashore are in the process of being installed now and will be at John Ball Zoo all season.