Large Marge’s Garbage Barge!

Large Marge’s Garbage Barge Comes To College of the Atlantic.
​Here’s our Story & Gratitude!

​The Story Behind the Story

     As a budding human ecologist in 1988, I acknowledged my personal contribution to the growing landscape feature in my hometown:  a garbage mountain.

I finished the original children’s book version of Large Marge’s Garbage Barge in 1990.  I presumed the recycling message would be unnecessary by the time I navigated the publishing realm. Instead of pursuing publishing, I chose to put the story aside. Shortly thereafter, I discovered recycling wasn’t the complete answer to our world’s solid waste woes, and began exploring the reusing and reducing options in my personal life.

Many years passed, and unfortunately, the world still needed to hear the story. In 2007, I drafted a puppet show script, fantasizing that I could produce the show with my homeschooling children. They were seven and three at the time (I have no idea what I was thinking!) We were able to make a couple of puppets a year, and revisited the idea often, yet made little progress.

Meanwhile, I collected more and more “Potential Puppet” items (mostly salvaged and rescued from the trash). Late 2015, I realized the project had been on hold for many moons, with no progress whatsoever. I determined ‘Make a puppet by the end of 2016, or all this junk is getting tossed!’ My next puppet ‘birthed’ the spring of 2016, and in the fall I shared the story with a group of eager listeners during a Nutcracker rehearsal.

In May 2017, I opened a Puppet Factory and invited those eager listeners from Acadia Community Theater to join me. The process we engaged in together is a true delight. I’m thrilled to have so many threads of my life weaving together: my initial awakening as a human ecologist at College of the Atlantic, the benefits of the ‘life learning’ homeschooling process, my development as an artist and teacher, my joy participating with community members in Acadia Community Theater.  The tapestry unfolds and I’m grateful to “bring it home” to COA for Alumni/Family weekend.  What a gift it is to live and thrive in this conscious community, with growing Alumni/MDI family!

The Future

The Funky Trunk Puppeteers intend to continue. Perhaps in Jim Henson fashion, we’ll begin recording our process play. The technology available offers us the possibilities to both produce a fun, serious, seriously funny series, as well as share our creations with a wide audience through the internet.  Many of the puppeteers also look forward to taking our show(s) on the road.

Your participation and support is welcomed and encouraged! Join us at the Puppet Factory (subscribe to our mailing list for updates on our schedule) and/or make a donation to contribute to our technological enhancements. We’re looking to invest in high-quality digital video recording and video-editing equipment, as well as sound equipment.

Earnings from the October 7th debut event will be shared with COA and our future productions! Thanks for joining us. We’re trying to make it possible to make online donations … for now, you’re welcome to become a patron in our Paradise Found Patreon community here, or sign up for our mailing list here.


The following family, friends and community members helped make this puppet show possible and we want to thank them all:

  • Erik, Brian and Robin Torbek and the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers for puppet creation support, inspiration and encouragement.  We are more in awe of you than ever.
  • Mount Desert Island’s A Climate to Thrive for having a Zero Waste Committee and reminding of the relevance of the story.
  • Donna Kansen, Pam Dyer-Stewart, and Kate Henry of the Wednesday Spinners for wool fleece and help washing it (Pam) and extra help (Kate).
  • The LOONS storytelling guild, in particular members:  Hope Lewis, Pearl Lewis, Dusty Bailey, Cathy Furness, and Jude Lamb for enriching our storytelling gifts.
  • Judith Bradshaw Brown, for the long-term loan of our first sewing machine.
  • Tree, from Bangor, for the gift of two working sewing machines.
  • “Project Midwives”: Sarah Tewhey, Haley Merchant, Dawn Nuding, Milja Brecher DeMuro, Rebecca Sophia Strong, Kathie Cote
  • My Creativity Mentors: Anna Maria Black, Ursula Stoller,  Josie Sibara, Richard Sassaman, Carol Shutt, Kathleen Bowman, Candice Stover, Ashley Bryan, Jeanne Seronde, Leanne Nickon, Shira Singer, Daaby Tingle
  • Many people for their loving encouragement, inspiration and support:  Jennifer Vinck,  Jade Howe, Nayan, Mia & Denise Sawyer, Jane Disney, Maddy Johnson, Mary Anne deLaney, Dennis Kiley, Johannah Blackman, Pepin Mittlehauser, Celeste Mittlehauser, Sydney Roberts Rockefeller, Savitri Bess, Josh Winer, Mollie Donohue, Abe & Betsey Holtzmann, The “Koala Bears”:  Sue Aripotch, Pam Dyer-Stewart, Brian Dyer-Stewart, Kate Henry, & the beloved, late Julie Russell
  • Our Great-Aunt May  & our Great-Aunt Syl for supplies, interest and encouragement.
  • The Temple Family:  Siri, Lucus, Sage and Jai for the 2010 “Dining Room Table Puppet Factory”
  • Rene Berger, Ali Taylor, and Nancy “Nana” Avila for supplies, years of puppet “housing & storage” and the 2017 Puppet Factory barn space.
  • Beloved Bumpy for your encouragement, even from “the other side”
  • Ellen Kappes for set materials.
  • Lucy Bell Sellers, for sparking my theater fire! And Acadia Community Theater for fueling that fire with such delightful opportunities to play together!
  • The cast & crew of the Funky Trunk Puppeteers: Benton, Claire, Haji, Faye, Lily, Luca, Mitchell, Molly, Rex, Ruby and Zoe and your families!
  • Again:  The amazing families of these blossoming puppeteers! Tim, Tammy, Thalia, Oakley, Jacob, Patti, Greg, Anna, Ralph, Phoebe, Eli, Zephyr, Jason, Elijah, Sarah, Kreg, Theresa, Heather, Ed, Milja, Tony, juno, Dee & Michael … (I’m missing some names here! Forgive me!)
  • Rosie Avila: Even though you’re full-time+ at MDIHS right now, your theater production wisdom and your willingness to share (and be a sounding board) is so appreciated!
  • “The Best Dad & Husband in the Universe,” Kyle Avila for everything, everyday!
  • All of our friends and family members (and some unsuspecting bystanders) who have patiently listened to this story develop over the decades and witnessed our practicing…
  • And anybody I’ve managed to forget on this initial list, my sincere apologies, I will probably update as my mind remembers me!

Finally, an extra special thanks to College of the Atlantic and the Alumni Association for performance space and support! Thanks for letting us “bring Large Marge home”!

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