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Perot Museum visitors can leave their mark at new Recycle Reef exhibit

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Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Recycle Reef
The new Recycle Reef exhibit at Perot Museum of Nature and Science is on display through August 25. Photo courtesy of Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Recycle Reef
A sunken ship, like everything else in Recycle Reef, is made entirely of cardboard. Photo courtesy of Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Recycle Reef
Cardboard sea turtles hover over visitors to Recycle Reef. Photo courtesy of Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Recycle Reef
Visitors can create their own piece of artwork, which will be displayed somewhere in Recycle Reef. Photo courtesy of Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Plastiki
The Plastiki catamaran is on display in the outdoor plaza of the Perot Museum through September 9. Photo courtesy of Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Recycle Reef
Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Recycle Reef
Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Recycle Reef
Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Recycle Reef
Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Plastiki

Officials for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science have touted their green goals from the moment the building was announced, so as the museum moves into its first summer, it's no surprise they're showcasing even more green features. The latest offering is the temporary exhibit Recycle Reef — and they mean "temporary" in every sense of the word.

Located on the lower level in the Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones Exhibition Hall, the exhibit, open from June 17 to August 25, is made entirely of cardboard — from the walls to the tables to, most impressively, a faux reef with plants, animals and a sunken ship.

 Visitors are encouraged to use markers, glue, chalk, repurposed note cards and other materials to create original art, which will be displayed at the museum.

Sprinkled throughout the front area are work stations with markers, glue, chalk, repurposed Perot Museum note cards and other materials. Visitors are encouraged to use these items to create their own piece of art, whether it's based on pictures of marine animals in the exhibit or just something from their own imagination.

Once they're finished, visitors can turn in their creations, which will in turn be displayed somewhere on the reef in the rear of the exhibit. "It's not only a chance for guests to experience the museum, but to shape it," says vice president of programs Steve Hinkley.

So the whole point of the exhibit doesn't get lost, various recycling facts line the walls in order to give people an idea of how much recycling can impact our daily lives. And because there's nothing but cardboard and paper in the exhibit, the entire thing will itself be recycled when it comes to a close.

In addition to this new exhibit, the Plastiki catamaran is on display in the museum's outdoor plaza. The boat was built out of recycled materials and sailed across the Pacific as a way to bring attention to the massive amount of plastic that gets deposited into the world's oceans each year. Plastiki remains on the plaza through September 9.

All of this, of course, fits right in with the museum's green mission. It's already achieved a rating of four Green Globes from the Green Building Initiative, one of only 12 buildings in the U.S. to have achieved the maximum score. Features like a rainwater collection system and solar-powered water heating should lead it to receive two other green certifications by the end of 2013.

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