Last year the students at Muizenberg Junior School won the Penguin Splash art prize. Passionate about the sea, the school has embarked on a Whale of a project – to build a life size replica of a Southern Right Whale’s Tail on their school grounds. On 29 April in a small ceremony marking the official launch of the project, the first sod was turned in preparation for the foundation of their +7m Whale Tail. Hugely excited by the project, a group of the Grade 6s held up a dazzling poster of a whale tail `painted’ with bright bottle tops. Alan Lindner of www.awhaleofaheritageroute.co.za which promotes heritage trails and whale watching along the west shore of Cape Town’s False Bay was present as facilitator of the project. He is assisting with finding sponsors for the building materials and is planning a host of complementary initiatives including a whale poster, a junior whale spotters club. etc.
School Principal Dee Cawcutt explained that Muizenberg Junior has twinned with Tussing Elementary School in Ohio, USA who built a steel replica of a Humpback Whale tail. This served as the inspiration for Muizenberg Junior School, located as it is in an old whaling settlement and on the gateway to whale watching in the Scenic South Peninsula. In searching for a project in common with their twinned school, Muizenberg Junior decided to build a replica of a Southern Right Whale’s Tail. The tail will consist of a metal frame covered with plastic bottle tops. The inside of the frame will be filled with used plastic containers to symbolize the impact on the marine environment and on whales of plastic pollution. Pat Antonelli, the school’s art teacher said that educating students about re-using resources in creative ways is a key theme at the school. Another priority is to involve all the students, which is why the whole school is collecting bottle tops to cover the tail. In a show of support, bottle tops are even being sent to Muizenberg from students at Tussing Elementary School.
Completion is planned for September, at the peak of the Southern Right Whale watching season. The Whale Tail will be visible in the school grounds close to Main Road, Muizenberg, where it is expected to act as a dramatic welcome to whale watching in the Scenic South. For more Whale Tales, to find out why the whale has buried its head in the school grounds and which of the bottle tops is its bellybutton watch www.scenicsouth.co.za or contact Alan Lindner at www.awhaleofaheritageroute.co.za or Lallette Mogillewie at Muizenberg Junior School on 021 788 4118.
(Huh! – bet you did not know that whale’s had belly buttons!!! )