Alaska Bags!

This is AWESOME! Way to go Maija and her students. I love these kinds of stories. We sent 20 bags for her and the kids. Keep up the great work! Teresa

Maija's bag in use.  (One from Green Bag Lady (left), one that her daughter made as a fundraiser)

This summer, after seeing several plastic bags blow through the pristine tundra while berry picking, one of my kids had the idea of (me) teaching the kids in our community how to make their own reusable grocery bags. She thought they would be more likely to use them, and have their parents use them if they made them themselves.

So we gathered old t-shirts from my co-workers, asked the local community college if we could utilize their classrooms during the summer and the "SUMMER Environmental Club" was born.  We met every Tuesday and Thursday for three hours in the afternoon.  We gathered soda cans, plastic bottles, batteries, and more.  We learned how to sew, learned
how to actually reuse items for usable daily items (like grocery bags and gym backpacks) rather than the usual "lets make butterflies out of paper towel tubes" because let's face it, they're still trash after the butterflies are done.

We focused on the approach of "think outside the box," so I took them to the ocean where we had set a net for Alaskan Salmon, in the net we caught oil containers, aluminum cans and TONS of plastic grocery bags. They saw what it was doing to our food source and vowed to stop their parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles from using plastic
bags!  And then we got to work making them.  Each child ended up with at least one reusable grocery bag and one gym backpack with a drawstring
top and straps.

I know we have our own grocery bags, but I think it would be nice if these kids, who were there day in and day out could get a "nicely" made bag from you.  I don't know how many you're willing to give away, but I've included some photos of the kids we had for 17 classes this summer. (The temperature is currently -51 below zero so we haven't been having classes until Springtime when it warms up a little!)

Aside from the backpacks, we cleaned the tundra around town, we made smoked salmon, they learned how to fillet a fish with a traditional eskimo ulu knife (which we made with old saw blades, too), we made jam and jelly out of local edible flowers (using old glass jars like pickle jars, spaghetti jars, etc.), weeds, and berries, we picked traditional foods, they recycled aluminum cans, collected spent batteries, and more.

Thanks for taking the time to check out our little part of the world!


P.S.  The Recycle 10 is a photo of the kids on the tundra, standing in
front of our little town in the background.  :)

Maija Lukin

Kotzebue, Alaska


Tami C said...

I loved reading about the birth of the "SUMMER Environmental Club" and the things you do! I think you have the right idea of having the children encourage their parents to recycle! I loved seeing the children learn to sew. Thank you for all you are doing Maija and your students!

Harmony said...

This. Is. Awesome. Truly! The impact of the Green Bag Lady Project never ceases to amaze and delight me.

Green Bag Lady Teresa said...

I love all that too Tami! So great!

Green Bag Lady Teresa said...

Aw, thanks Harmony! You are the best cheerleader!