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Non-Profit Happenings March 2012


Community Unites to Transform Litter into a Useful Work of Art

On Sunday, March 18, members of the Moab community of all ages will join hands (and feet) to build Moab’s first Peace on Earth Bench at the Youth Garden Project. The volunteers of Pick Up America, who have picked up over 2,000 miles of litter between Maryland and Moab, will join the community in gathering building materials from the roadway. Eco-artist Brennan Blazer Bird, who has committed to building 1,000 Bottle Brick Benches by 2014, will lead the building efforts.

“In an interconnected world, there is no ‘away’ in ‘throw away’ says Pick Up America co-founder Davey Rogner. “That’s why it’s so important to engage communities in recycled art projects like this one. So much of what we send to the dump could be composted, reused, or recycled into a useful application. It represents a huge waste of resources for my generation.”

The bench-building party will take place on Sunday, March 18, from 9 am-7 pm. The event is family-friendly, free and open to the public. Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to stop by for a few hours. Bring a dish to share and an instrument to play for the potluck lunch in the garden. The Youth Garden Project is located at 530 South 400 East, Moab, UT, 84532.

Bird discovered bottle brick building techniques in 2009 and has been building Peace on Earth Benches ever since. “Throughout the week, students in Moab will stuff their landfill material into plastic bottles until they’re compressed like bricks,” Bird says. “Most people say they never realized how much trash they produce until they started saving it. The whole idea is that we’re landfilling it into a useful space, like this bench, rather than a wasteful space, like the landfill.” Bottle brick benches are constructed with bottle bricks lined up and then covered in cob, an earthen building material that consists of clay, sand and straw.

This project would not have been possible without community support. In March, Pick Up America will be presenting at schools about the importance of zero waste and environmental stewardship. After class, students will be encouraged to pick up litter with the Pick Up Artists along the half marathon route on River Road and also at Courthouse Wash, bordering Arches National Park.

“I am thrilled to see students, non-profits, educators, and members of the Moab community coming together to build this bench,” said Delite Primus, executive director of The Youth Garden Project. “The bench-building day will be a party full of laughter, cob-stomping, music, and food. We are excited to host the event and bench to create a lasting, youth-led art piece on our property.”

How to Make a Bottle Brick imageFor more information about the event, Pick Up America, or the Peace on Earth Benches, please contact Lily Berman, Pick Up America’s Image and Awareness Coordinator, at (301)915-6572 or by emailing

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