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Hall of Science program aims to repurpose holiday bags, wrapping paper

The Remake the Holidays program will also feature daily ice sculptures of endangered species.

Ice sculptor Bill Bywater will transform bricks of

Ice sculptor Bill Bywater will transform bricks of ice into different endangered and threatened species at the New York Hall of Science as part of the Remake the Holidays program.
  Photo Credit: NY Hall of Science/Ann-Sophie Fjelloe-Jensen

Don’t ditch all that holiday wrapping just yet.

The New York Hall of Science in Queens is hosting its annual Remake the Holidays program Dec. 27-30, where kids and adults can learn to turn wrapping paper and other items into new crafts and works of art.

The four-day event is designed to focus on recycling and sustainability during a season when consumption is high.

“It’s fun, but hits on serious topics,” said Elizabeth Slagus, director of public programs at the Hall of Science. “It’s a great time to get people thinking creatively.”

Household waste in American homes jumps by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That means about 1 million more tons a week of food, shopping bags, packaging and other holiday detritus goes into landfills, the agency said.

One of the workshops shows how to turn discarded holiday wrapping paper and catalogs into a garland, while another uses fabrics, old toys and other materials to make new creations, Slagus said.

“Maybe this will help people give some thought to the materials we toss away a little bit carelessly sometimes,” she said.

A program titled “Marvelous Mushrooms” explores how fungi remove toxins from the environment. Participants can learn how to grow their own mushrooms with a special container.

Each day, ice sculptor Bill Bywater also will transform bricks of ice into different animals such as a Canadian lynx, bald eagle, loggerhead turtle and a southern sea otter. Bywater chose animals that have been classified as endangered or threatened but are showing progress because of conservation efforts.

“This shows how human consciousness and intervention can have an impact,” Slagus said.

For more times and dates of workshops and other events go to


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