East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse


Enjoyed our last meet up of the year at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse.  Big thanks to the Depot’s and  Education Coordinator, Natasha Stillman for making this possible!

Participants: James Treacy, Skyline; Amber Miller, Chabot; Deborah Gordon, OUSD; Kristin Vetterlein, Grass Valley; Michelle Lewis, Glenview; Aracely Sifuentes-Ordaz, Melrose Leadership Academy; Ann Wettrich, OUSD/VAPA; Natasha Stillman, East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse.

1. Depot Overview

Natasha provided an overview of the Depot—created by and for teachers–its mission, goals and resources. She talked about the Depot’s dedication to being part of the environmental solution—through education programming and through salvaging and redistributing materials that can be reused and reducing the amount of garbage in landfills. We learned that on average, each of us creates 7 lbs of garbage a day and that the Depot diverts over 200 tons of reusable materials from landfills each year.

2.  Environmental Education Resources

Natasha encouraged everyone to sign up for their Green Educator Program.  You will receive a membership card that gets you a 10% discount and free materials from their Green Educator Giveaway Zone. You will also receive a monthly newsletter detailing current give away items as well as info about environmental events, workshops and educational projects.  Natasha also encouraged teachers to contribute work for their online “inspiration gallery” in exchange for shopping discounts. The Depot’s website offers a wonderful array of tutorials, environmental education videos, resources and links. Here’s a few of her top recommendations:

3. Opportunities for Partnering with the Depot: If you are interested in serving on the Depot’s advisory board or partnering with the Depot by providing a satellite after-school site at your school, you can contact Natasha at natasha@creativereuse.org

4. Workshops:  Discussion, Explorations & Making

Scavenger Hunt: Natasha provided prompts to hunt for specific kinds of objects in the store – Find something: red, circular, made from metal, with writing on it, old, soft, with holes in it, made from plastic, the an image of an animal, that makes you smile. We brought back a pile of select items to the table and discussed the question: What’s the intersection between what is here and what you do? Ideas for teaching and learning that emerged included:

  • Currency – studying different types, forms and designs of money over time and places. Ideas suggested: redesigning a currently, making your own currency, examining how money changes from colonial to post colonial times, looking at artist Ray Beldner’s art work with money.
  • Weaving – with yarn and cardboard looms
  • Garbage Selfies – Collect and photograph self with waste from one day or one lunch period—sorting, analyzing and talking about alternative ways to use and reduce the amount of waste we create.
  • Color Study
  • Memory Vessels in test-tube like containers
  • Puppets with nylon stockings and cotton batting
  • Creating a museum to display mysterious recycled objects – curate and invent histories for these objects
  • Material Finds—Great finds—pencil leads and supplies for art making.

Sculpture Assemblage Exercise: Ann asked everyone to make an assemblage type sculpture in response to the question: What does learning look like? [or make up another question…the idea was to be guided in the process of making by inquiry].  This was followed up by a debrief–talking about our creations and creative process–whether led by questions or materials, along with observations about learning.

5. Wrap Up


Thanks! for participating in the VATN this year, contributing to a enlightening, lively collegial learning exchange and community of support.

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