Don’t toss that bottle in the street, “Feed the Fish”

The Fishtown Neigh­bor­hood As­so­ci­ation's "Feed the Fish" pro­gram, a fun way to ad­dress the lit­ter­ing in the neigh­bor­hood, is set to launch in early 2014.

Pro­posed design of the “fish heads” to be placed around Fishtown. The FNA hope to launch this pro­ject early next year. SUB­MIT­TED BY FNA

Throw­ing away your trash will get a little more ex­cit­ing in Fishtown, thanks to the Fishtown Neigh­bor­hood As­so­ci­ation, which plans to launch its “Feed the Fish” ini­ti­at­ive be­gin­ning early next year. 

The next time you’re walk­ing down the street and are think­ing of throw­ing your candy wrap­per or wa­ter bottle on the ground or in the gut­ter, you may very well be greeted by a trash can dis­guised as a cre­at­ively de­signed fish head, en­cour­aging you to “feed him” with your garbage.

FNA board mem­ber John Con­salvo said the concept de­rives from what is known as “fun the­ory.” 

“It takes healthy prac­tices that be­ne­fit our well be­ing and makes them fun. We’re hop­ing that this would make kids want to run around and look for trash to throw away,” Con­salvo said. 

Loc­al artist Eric Al­len was ap­proached by the FNA to cre­ate the sculp­ted fish head, which will be placed on top of trash re­cept­acles and sta­tioned at busy in­ter­sec­tions and oth­er places that are a breed­ing ground for trash and lit­ter.

“I was really ex­cited when [FNA Beau­ti­fic­a­tion Com­mit­tee Chair] Kristy Landry ap­proached me. It soun­ded pretty cool so I de­cided to get in­volved,” Al­len said. The Kens­ing­ton res­id­ent said the pro­ject should help to make the neigh­bor­hood streets more ap­peal­ing and fun.

“It’ll be something pos­it­ive on the street, at least that’s my hope,” said Al­len, who is cur­rently in the pro­cess of sculpt­ing the fish head in plaster, which will be re­pro­duced in fiber­glass to with­stand the ele­ments of the out­doors. 

“Fishtown people have a lot of pride in their com­munity, I can def­in­itely see them be­ing re­cept­ive to the pro­gram,” Al­len said. 

Con­salvo said that in ad­di­tion to the fish heads cre­ated by Al­len, the city’s Streets De­part­ment pledged to donate 20 wire trash bas­kets to use for the pro­ject.

“This pro­ject has po­ten­tial to provide a great ex­ample of things neigh­bor­hoods can do in part­ner­ship with the city,” Con­salvo said.

Con­salvo said he has been ap­proached by not only busi­nesses, but also loc­al res­id­ents who have offered to spon­sor a fish bas­ket. There is no cost to spon­sor the ac­tu­al bas­ket, be­sides what it would cost to main­tain the bas­ket. This in­cludes buy­ing trash bags and empty­ing the bas­kets as needed. 

“The re­sponse has been over­whelm­ingly pos­it­ive. We’ve heard from close to 20 busi­nesses who ex­pressed in­terest in spon­sor­ing bas­kets,” Con­salvo said. “We haven’t had any neg­at­ive feed­back, people are com­ing up to us say­ing it’s a great idea.” 

In ad­di­tion to loc­al res­id­ents and busi­nesses spon­sor­ing the bas­kets, Landry said she would also like to reach out to schools in the area to get in­volved with the pro­ject.  

Al­though lit­ter­ing is just as much of an is­sue in Fishtown as it is in big cit­ies like Phil­adelphia in gen­er­al, Con­salvo said it is something that has been im­prov­ing over the past dec­ade. 

Des­pite the pro­gress the pro­ject has already made, there is still much pre­par­a­tion to be done be­fore it is of­fi­cially launched in 2014.

“There are a lot of plan­ning things you don’t ne­ces­sar­ily think about, such as pro­cur­ing the ac­tu­al ma­ter­i­al, draw­ing up agree­ments with the Streets De­part­ment, and oth­er lo­gist­ic­al steps,” Con­salvo said. 

Any­one in­ter­ested in spon­sor­ing one of the bas­kets should email beau­ti­fic­a­ for more in­form­a­tion. Con­salvo said ap­plic­a­tions to dec­or­ate and paint the fish heads should be out in early 2014.

When the pro­ject is launched, Al­len said he hopes his work will have a con­struct­ive im­pact on the com­munity.

“I’m think­ing maybe people will real­ize their re­spons­ib­il­ity to throw their trash away,” he said.  “Or it will just put smiles on their faces when they see a fish head on top of a trash can.”

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