Upcycling at Mt. Marion

Jonathan MacNamara with his “Snow Meter Bird Feeder Man” at the Mt. Marion Up-cycle Art Show

Jonathan MacNamara with his “Snow Meter Bird Feeder Man” at the Mt. Marion Up-cycle Art Show

When you “up-cycle,” or turn discarded items into something new and useful, said Mt. Marion Elementary School Grade 3 student Jonathan MacNamara, you get to paint, “use stuff you had before, and add cool stuff.”

And Jonathan would know. He recently crafted a “Snow Meter Bird Feeder Man” entirely out of recycled materials for the annual Up-cycle Art Show sponsored by Mt. Marion’s environmental club, The Green Team.


The show, held on the evening of Nov. 20 in the school cafeteria, featured an array of clever, creative projects made from items like empty raisin boxes, K-Cups, seashells, puzzle pieces, and pieces of a broken computer keyboard. All students at Mt. Marion were invited to participate, and the ideas that sprang from their imaginations ran the gamut from the practical (Cameron France’s portable checker set made from an old DVD case and bottle caps) to the fanciful (Chylie Persico’s garden made of PVC pipe, sand paper, and empty fruit cups, presided over by a resident fairy named Cale).

Jonathan’s up-cycled outdoorsy superhero had can tab eyes, a yardstick body to measure snowfall, a hat crocheted by an elderly friend, and “magnificent arms” to hold several small birdfeeders.

Other projects included: Zoe Hartrum’s colorful desk organizer made of pet food cans, emptied compliments of her dog, Biscuit; Tallulah Ashton’s jewelry holder made of toe separators, foam, and candleholders; and Gianna Maloney’s full-size dollhouse, constructed and furnished with materials found around her real-life home.

Visitors to the art show had the opportunity to create an environmentally friendly project of their own by decorating discarded compact discs with help from members of the Saugerties High School Key Club.

The Green Team, which is led by parent Melinda France and is in its third year, currently has 59 members in grades 2 to 6. Jonathan, who has been a member for three years, said he likes being part of the club because it gives him a chance to help the world.

Anyone who missed the Up-cycle Art Show will have a chance to see the students’ projects at Mt. Marion’s book fair on December 2 at Barnes & Noble in Kingston.