Shari “The Bag Lady” visits St. Philip School

It’s been almost two years since Shari Petrie, of Latonia, became known as “The Bag Lady.” Her passion as an environmentalist led her to crochet mats for people experiencing homelessness. The bags she uses may otherwise block the flow of streams, be hazardous to the metabolism of living organisms or pack landfills as the plastic used to make them does not break down overtime. Researchers estimate that 269,000 tons of plastic float on the ocean’s surface.

Shari and her recycled treasures
Shari showing Mrs. Twehues’ & Mrs. Dee’s students how to make plarn

In science class, students at St. Philip School learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the negative impacts that plastic has on our waterways. Students then invited “The Bag Lady” to help them tie what they learned in the classroom with ways they can give back to the community. Shopping bags separated by the school’s 2nd graders were used by Mrs. Dee’s 4th grade and Mrs. Twehues’ 5th/6th split class to make plarn, plastic yarn. It takes just a few easy steps to produce plarn: fold a shopping bag in fourths, cut the folded bag into thirds and the final step is to slip knot the cut pieces together. To participate in creating plarn, join “The Bag Lady” at Mackenzie’s Work Shop January 12, 2018.

students making plarn
students making plarn

Northern Kentucky University freshman, Lexi Twehues, volunteered to help students make plarn. Students and teachers engaged their community, asking the school and parish members to donate plastic bags to be processed into plarn. Using an US Q, Shari will crochet the plarn into four “bean bag” chairs.  “The Bag Lady” expects to use anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 bags to complete one bean bag chair. All four chairs will be donated to the Duke Energy Children’s Museum at the Cincinnati Museum Center.  Children’s Museum staff is excited to receive this donation and believe the chairs will help inspire visitors to recycle.

Students from St. Philip School with Shari “The Bag Lady”