Each year thousands of Minnesotans volunteer to remove trash from the state's lakes and rivers. Since 1989, they've managed to haul out six million pounds of garbage.
The DNR thanks its volunteers - and raises awareness of the garbage problem - by commissioning a sculpture made from some of the items those volunteers retrieved. The sculpture is then put on display at the Minnesota State Fair.
This year artist Andrew Vomhof created an 800-pound sculpture of a bird and a turtle sailing a sailboat through rough seas.
Artist Andrew Vomhof takes a break from working on "Scuttled" to pose for a picture
"Scuttled" is constructed out of rubbish collected from the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, including dozens of tires, hundreds of plastic soda bottles, rebar, auto parts, propane tanks, children's toys, and scrap metal... as well as, adds Vomhof, an actual boat.
There were a series of identical holes in the bottom of the boat where it appears someone had tried to sink it. Even when the boat was found, it was still floating, just above the water, it's registration numbers scratched off the side. Like the boat, the bottles and other objects had floated down the river and settled in a flooded river plain as if they had sailed there all together.
Vomhof is a Minnesota native and a 2010 graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. While this sculpture is very different from his typical work, Vomhof says it involves a similar process:
In much of my previous sculptural work, the integrity and appearance of the objects remain, but are assembled or paired in a way that changes them altogether. With the sculpture for the DNR I worked along similar guidelines, but with many more objects than I usually involve in my work.
A creature made of trash surveys the stormy seas from the sailboat's crows' nest.
You can find "Scuttled" next to the duck pond at the DNR's building on the state fairgrounds.
Once the state fair is over, the sculpture will be displayed at one of the DNR's St. Paul locations.
Vomhof says it's interesting to note that the pieces made out of plastic and rubber in the sculpture will likely outlive the metal pieces, which will eventually rust away.