The Seedlings Project – Raising Ocean Awareness

Skeleton Sea has recently been awarded an EEA Grant, through the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism, for its interactive “Seedlings Workshop” project under the Program PT02 – “Integrated Marine and Coastal Waters Management”, organised in partnership with Ericeira´s Group of Schools – Ántonio Bento Franco.

Integrated within Skeleton Sea´s arts-based environmental education programme for 2015-16, the funding shall provide the necessary support to develop weekly Seedlings workshops, collective beach clean-ups, certified teacher training sessions and a final “Seedlings Project” art exhibition that promotes and improves Ocean literacy levels in the Portuguese Educational Community, while simultaneously seeking to involve a wider audience and inspiring society in general.

More info about the grant results can be found here: and/or

See all approved projects

Skeleton Sea Seedlings aims to Turn Trash into Art! and with this promote the message “Keep the Oceans Clean!”, through interactive activities that will change daily habits and inspire communities, schools and families to take pride in their natural resources.

In partnering with a local Group of Schools closely connected to the Sea and the Coast, the project shall develop arts-based environmental education activities with children aged 7-10, turning future citizens into skilled social scientists by training them to message the need for change in a way that appeals to hearts and minds. Developing “Seedlings” artists are creating true “Presents of the Sea” by helping raise awareness and build community support for the adoption of more sustainable behavior.

The action reminds us of what happens to waste, in a exercise of citizenship that raises awareness of environmental issues and enables participantes to find suitable materials for art creation. The project transgresses material boundaries, collecting rubbish and quick-to apply materials to focus on self expression and environmental learning rather than on artistic skill development.

The Seedlings Workshops

As a complement to Skeleton Sea´s regular activity of sculpture making, these workshops were developed as an educational tool to positively intervine in society, in order to meet the growing needs and interest of the general public.

Our intention is not only to invite participantes to collect beach trash but to also find new uses for old things, making art from the collected materials and thus jointly creating a group artpiece to be exhibited in a final one week art exhibition, patent at the Skeleton Sea Art Gallery in St.Isidoro, Mafra. All recycled art “support materials” are to be returned to the school workplace, where they can serve as a platform and inspiration for further Eco-school activities.


Project measures and expected results from the partnership
  • Information and awareness
  • Artistic creativity/construction
  • Education and training

Through interactive activities and teacher trainings sessions, Skeleton Sea helps raise awareness for the preservation of our natural resources, using art as an ally in promoting creative recycling. Developing “Seedling” artists are creating true “Presents of the Sea” by helping raise awareness and build community support for the adoption of more sustainable behavior. The action reminds us of what happens to waste, in a exercise of citizenship that raises awareness of environmental issues and enables participantes to find suitable materials for art creation.

Key Actions
  • Beach Clean-ups with marine and coastal waters education under the guidance of marine biologist – Raquel Gaspar.
  • Skeleton Sea “Seedlings” workshops – artists Alexandre Michael Kreuzeder and/or João Bruno Parrinha, shall develop “Turn Trash into Art” workshops directly at the Foz do Lizandro Beach.
  • Final “Keep the Oceans Clean!” colaborative art exhibition as a result of the artworks created in each workshop.
  • Certified Teacher Training Sessions – developed by colaborating Marine Biologist.


Certified Teacher Training Sessions (6h – divided into two 3h modules)

To ensure an enthusiastic and positive engagement of teachers involved in the Skeleton Sea Seedings project, by supporting them with the necessary educational tools and practical resources. Marine Biologist and Certified Teacher Trainer – Raquel Gaspar, has conceived a content curriculum program to promote awareness of ocean and coastal issues. Its goal is to foster a new generation of explorers dedicated to respecting marine wildlife.

More information about the educational programme of Raquel Gaspar: Facebook page and/or website


1) increase transferable knowledge of niches, fauna and flora of the tide pools.

2) relate the observation of living beings, their way of life and habitat with the basics concepts of life and environmental science.

3) provide students with tools in order to communicate these concepts.

4) demonstration of practical activities and observational methods.

5)instill the naturalistic attitude.

  • Direct observation and marine organism identification
  • Registering observations through drawings records.
  • Materials needed and steps to perform an herbarium of Macroalgae and other constructions
  • Demostration of experiments and practical activities.


Educational Programme

October 2015 -April 2016, Foz do Lizandro Beach



Group A
(<25 children)
Group B
(<25 children)
10:00-12:30 Beach Clean up + marine biology Workshop “Turn Trash into Art”
12:30-13:30 Lunch Lunch
13:30-15:15 Workshop “Turn Trash into Art” Beach Clen up + marine biology
15:30 Pick-up (Mafrense) Pick-up (Mafrense)

The Workshops, Beach Clean-ups and Teacher Development Program are in accordance with the content areas of the national primary and secundary school teaching curriculum.

Target group: Primary School: 7-10 years of age

Subject area: Environmental Studies/Estudo do meio

Content: Knowledge of the natural/social environment, and dynamism of natural/social interrelations.

Marine Biology at the Beach:

  1. The importance of the Ocean in our Planet: the role the ocean has in the biosphere, climate and human lives.
  2. How the Ocean matters in our daily life? From breathing, regulating atmospheric temperature to the fuel in our car or the fish we eat, teachers will adventure on a discovery journey that explores the close relationship betwenn the Ocean and everyday things.
  3. Trash in the Ocean. What is the statistical figure for the Portuguese coastline? Where does the trash come from? What types of litter are more common? Let’s take a look at each stage in their life cycle? What impacts and dangers are known to exist? How to avoid even more trash ending up in the Ocean?
  4. Incentivate pupils to become young marine explorers. Facts and creatures from marine life at the chosen local beach – Foz do Lizandro.
The ECO-SCHOOL International Programme 2015/16

The project offers an opportunity to actually help local state schools implement the Eco-Schools framework, by providing them with a creative learning approach that involves staff, students and the interconnected coastal community.

The social interaction and team building activities that occur between the children and the cost effective art materials, finding beach trash and making art from any material at hand, is a tool to inspire a lifetime. This has been one of the steps to make a difference in the community by becoming one step closer to the enactment of zero waste concepts.

Objectives and espected results

  • Promote the Good Environmental Status (GES): in local marine and coastal waters and improve Ocean literacy levels amongst different age groups of the Portuguese School Community.
  • The Skeleton Sea Gallery as an Arts-Based Environmental Education Centre: using art as an ally in the promotion of creative recycling and natural resource preservation.
  • Increase Ocean Awareness: implement integrated marine water management training, education and awareness raising measures and activities.
  • The project includes alternative learning strategies (outdoor learning) and promotes collective/collaborative teamwork between children of different age group/class levels.
  • Cultural empowerment: building children and adult confidence with and understanding of artists, galleries and arts exhibitions.

It is expected that the implementation of local arts-based environmental educational initiatives, can contribute to improved knowledge of the Oceans in the Portuguese School Community, transferring good habits learnt in school into the household, so that behaviour change can have ripple effects in the wider population.

As Skeleton Sea Seedlings continues to grow and develop on Portuguese fertile land, we depend on our supporters and stakeholders to continuosly raise awareness, encouraging Ocean-awareness dialogue, as well as children’s creativity regardless of different age groups or family economic standings.

Other Educational Tools

Informational Kit (support material) – information about the Skeleton Sea project with guidlines and examples of all the activities developed under the Seedlings workshops.

Available Online: a fun workbook developed by the Surfrider Foundation (smurf booklet), with 4 pages concerning marine litter is available for downloading, as well as two 1st cycle curriculum books relating to knowledge of the Oceans, the teacher trainings and respective workshops.

  1. Graciosa, the Vain Whale, Sofia Quaresma.
  2. The Girl from the Sea, Sophia de Mello Breyner e Andreson.
  3. The friends of the Girl from the Sea, Raquel Gaspar and Angelo Encarnação.

Electronic Sites: it is suggested that all activities to be carried out by children and/or youngsters rely on the consultation and pratical use of referential electronic sites such as Kit do Mar and Conhecer o Oceano, where information on Ocean Literacy can easily be found.