Cape Elizabeth high schooler wins Upcycle Challenge

Aurora Milton, a student at Cape Elizabeth High School, won the 2022 ecomaine Upcycle Challenge for a pair of pants made from old curtains and fabric. Contributed / ecomaine

Aurora Milton, a sophomore at Cape Elizabeth High School, won the ecomaine annual Upcycle Challenge for her design and manufacturing of pants made from old curtains and fabric that would have otherwise been discarded. The contest held during the two weeks surrounding Earth Day featured two other finalists – a large tree sculpture made by Aria Pines and Portland’s Casco Bay High School Waste to Art Intensive with artist Kim Bernard, and old jeans turned into aprons by a Rockland school district-based afterschool program.

In less than two weeks, the contest saw more than 1,500 votes; Milton’s pants garnered more than 61% of the vote, earning the $500 grand prize.

“Rewind to the ’90s with these chic, street-style trousers,” Milton said in her entry. “No one would know that the creamy, cargo material of the legs is actually a window curtain saved from a swap shop. Or that the deep, utility pockets are made with an old flannel from Goodwill.”

The Upcycle Challenge challenged students in ecomaine’s communities to use materials that usually would have been thrown away to make new, functional items. Ecomaine, a Portland-based nonprofit, recycling and waste-to-energy operation, selected the finalists based on their incorporation of post-consumer materials and the ingenuity and functionality of the new creation.

Portland Public Schools creates mobile makerspace

The Foundation for Portland Public Schools is gathering support for a new Portland Public Schools Mobile Makerspace for hands-on STEAM programming to Portland elementary school students. The goal is to have it up and running by July for summer school.

“Our goal with the makerspace is to provide every pre-K to 5 students in Portland access to this mobile lab,” said Brooke Teller, the Portland Public Schools STEM coordinator, in a prepared release. “A mobile trailer that carries equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters and more will eliminate the need for any one school to outfit a full, high-tech lab.”