Gulf Guardians and Costa Cleanups, along with other local organizations, will host a free Plastic Free Padre Family Expo, which will be a day filled with workshops, activities and information about plastic pollution.

The event will have indoor and outdoor stages and will be held on Friday, March 5 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Beach Resort South Padre Island.

A presentation will be given by Sea Turtle, Inc. Education Director Khrystyne Jamerson.

She will present about the effects of plastic pollution on sea turtles and other marine life.

Additional educational workshops will be held by organizations, such as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, UTRGV Coastal Studies Lab, Nurdle Patrol, Gulf Guardians, SPI Recycling and Costa Cleanups.

Event organizer Aarin Hartwell said this is a new event that was inspired by the annual Texas Plastic Pollution Symposium that was held on Thursday, March 4.

The symposium brings scientists together to discuss plastic research being conducted in Texas, as well as to bring awareness to plastics in the environment.

“It’s happened before on Galveston and also in Corpus Christi and so this year South Padre Island is honored to host it,” Hartwell said. “We decided that we would produce an additional event to reach our own community because normally the symposium reaches industry contacts, universities, students and researchers.”

In addition to art, music, film, activities and workshops, the Plastic Free Padre Family Expo will have a beach cleanup and silent auction.

Hartwell said the silent auction will help contribute to Gulf Guardians and artists that helped with the event’s educational art pieces.

According to Hartwell, Plastic Free Padre is an initiative of Gulf Guardians.

“The purpose of it is to help food and beverage business owners transition to alternatives other than plastic because they’re stakeholders in helping transition the island away from plastic,” she explained.

Hartwell said she thinks art, film and activities that engage children and adults about plastic pollution education help people gain an awareness of what changes communities can make locally to benefit the island.

“If they come, they can learn about local nonprofit organizations that can use their help with things like beach cleanups and attending some of the educational opportunities so they can learn more,” she said. “The Gulf Guardians focus on facilitating workshops and activities to teach about plastic pollution so the more people we can invite to be a part of that, the more people we can reach.”