PLC’s Year 5 students are pulling out their paint brushes and sharpening their colouring pencils in the name of ocean sustainability.

Life Below Water – a collaborative art competition with UWA Girls in Engineering and UWA OceanWorks – aims to educate junior school-aged children, their parents, teachers and the wider community about how engineering can solve issues pertaining to ‘life under water’ – one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – and to promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) as a study and career pathway for girls.

Year 5 students were invited to take part in the Life Below Water Competition, to show how STEAM can preserve life in our oceans. Working with PLC’s Junior School Art teacher, Colleen Garland, students completed individual art works representing ocean life.

“The project highlights the creativity of STEAM, showing how solving large, complex problems combines communication, creativity and collaboration”, said Mrs Garland.

Last night, students, parents and guests attended the Life Below Water event at the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre (IOMRC) at UWA, and heard from Physical Oceanographer and Archaeologist, Sara Hajbane, who is currently undertaking her environmental engineering PhD on plastic pollution in coastal waters. Sara spoke to students and guests about her passion for the oceans and the research she has undertaken over the last 5 years.

As well as Sara, special guests from OceanWorks demonstrated how 3D printers can turn coral reef mapping information into detailed artificial reefs.

The eventful evening ended with the announcement of the winning and shortlisted art works done by the Year 5 students and judged by a combined UWA/PLC panel.

Winning students:

  • Aurelia Qaqish (1st place)
  • Olivia Ockenden (Runner-up)
  • Alicia Italiano (Runner-up)

Shortlisted students:

  • Portia Pryor
  • Brigette Kapinkoff
  • Aspen Murray
  • Ivy Downes

Winning student, Aurelia’s art work was inspired by everything she has learnt through this project.

“I have learnt so much about coral bleaching and how it’s affecting ocean life. Coral reefs are very important but are disappearing fast”, Aurelia explained.

The shortlisted artworks have been recreated on reusable coffee cups and gift cards, and Aurelia’s winning piece has been printed on coffee mugs and will be displayed in the foyer of the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre (IOMRC) at UWA.

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