Students Build Ecobrick Bench at Ocean Beach Park

Maeve Ryan
May 10, 2016

Under the guidance of New England Science & Sailing Foundation (NESS), the seventh grade LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) students at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School (BDJMS) culminated a semester-long project with the construction of an Eco-Brick Bench at Ocean Beach Park.  

The seventh grade BDJMS LEAD program is comprised of 27 students who have been working with their school teachers, NESS educators, and the NESS SEA AmeriCorps members to develop a project that targets environmental issues like marine debris and recycling. The ultimate goal of their project was to build a structure in New London entirely comprised of Ecobricks.

An Ecobrick is created with two simple materials: a used plastic bottle and 60-100 pieces of dry trash. Trash is packed firmly into each plastic bottle to make it hard like a brick. The BDJMS students achieved their goal of making 400 Ecobricks which were then engineered into a bench to be utilized for visitors to Ocean Beach Park. 

Willie Barber, NESS’s New London-based education specialist, said that the creation of the Ecobrick Bench at Ocean Beach Park is a great way for students to see their hard work come to fruition. “It’s been awesome to see how much time and effort these seventh graders have dedicated to the project. Students are here today literally getting their hands wet, mixing concrete, and building this bench. It really represents NESS’s mission to teach life skills by getting these students outside and working together as a team.”

Willie’s father, Willie Barber Sr. of Black Dog Concrete, donated the concrete and coached the students on how to build the bench.