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The Living Coast Discovery Center Opens New Exhibit

Washed Ashore Makes Art From Ocean Trash

Henry the Fish welcomes visitors to the Living Coast Discovery Center.

Credit: Living Coast Discovery Center

Above: Henry the Fish welcomes visitors to the Living Coast Discovery Center.


Angela Haseltine Pozzi, artist and executive director of The Washed Ashore Project

Dr. Brian Joseph, executive director of the Living Coast Discovery Center


The Chula Vista Nature Center changed its name to the Living Coast Discovery Center last month, and the first exhibit under the new moniker is Washed Ashore, which turns trash into art to call attention to ocean pollution.

“The time was right for us to select a name that better reflects our mission, which is to inspire care and exploration of the living Earth by connecting people with coastal animals, plants and habitats,” says Dr. Brian Joseph, executive director for the center. “Our new brand more accurately positions us as a regional destination for family entertainment and education, and also broadens the reach of the organization as we seek the corporate and community partnerships critical for our ongoing sustainability.”

Faced with severe budget cuts in Fall 2009, the Nature Center successfully transitioned from the City of Chula Vista to an independent, nonprofit organization. The City of Chula Vista had opened the facility on the scenic Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in 1987. The center welcomes nearly 70,000 visitors each year, including hundreds of school field trips.

The Washed Ashore Exhibit features a collection of sculptures by Angela Haseltine Pozzi. Her art uses plastic debris picked up from the beaches and then turned into large marine animal sculptures. The art is visually attractive but on closer inspection reveals debris that has come from places like China.

"The Washed Ashore Exhibit is actually part of a project, the Washed Ashore Project, that is an ongoing project based in Bandon, Oregon," says Haseltine Pozzi, " We gather garbage up off the beaches constantly. Most of the stuff that we get off the beach is coming from the middle of the ocean or from overseas. We process it by hosing it down and sorting it and scrubbing it and soaking, drilling it. That's done by volunteers of all ages and then I do all of the designing and the arranging and I'm the lead artist and the director of the project. Now why we are doing it is a huge issue. Why we are doing it is probably the most important and that is to raise awareness about the problem. The plastic pollution problem in the ocean is huge and it is affecting every beach in the entire world. And it's basically because humans have created this thing called plastic which lasts forever and right not in this day and age, we are producing 200 billion [pounds] a year of plastic. About 4% is being recycled or up cycled. And the rest of it is here on earth."

Haseltine Pozzi describes one of her smaller art pieces, the Flip Flop Fish.

Washed Ashore: Flip Flop Fish

Artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi describes her Flip Flop Fish.

The Washed Ashore Exhibit runs through September 3 at the Living Coast Discovery Center (1000 Gunpowder Point Drive in Chula Vista).

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