Students Use Marshmallow Peeps to Showcase Environmental Issues
Written by Bill Loftus
A Peeps show explored environmental science themes in the University of Idaho Commons April 21.
Peeps, the marshmallow chicks and bunnies that signal the Easter season in many households, unleashed a flood of creativity from Professor Bob Mahler's
introductory environmental science students.
said students submitted 175 dioramas featuring Peeps to illustrate an environmental theme. The displays crowded Mahler's
home base, the Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences Department office in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
More than half of the students took Mahler
up on his extra-credit offer to build a diorama in a shoebox
to illustrate an environmental theme. The points earned could substitute for one assignment during the semester.
"I initially thought 30 or 40 people would turn it in and I'm still counting," Mahler
said two days after the deadline. "I think we're up to about 175 now."
His favorites? "There's one on deforestation that features a Peep molded like a deer, complete with antlers. I've seen Peeps dressed like farmers. Someone did a water conservation theme and showed two Peeps bunnies in the shower, one pink and one blue, with a cutaway to the drain that showed some personal care products going into the environment," Mahler
"I told the class that if this is successful we'll do it again in the fall, this time featuring a Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead
inspired theme. We're the potato state so I think that would be a good thing to use," he added.
His inspiration, Mahler
said, was Nicole
Thompson, the Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences Department administrative assistant, who launched one for the department this spring. She admitted swiping the idea from a friend across the street in the University of Idaho Law School. Her entry recreated the Stepford
"I knew they'd done similar things with Peeps on the East Coast, so I thought it was worth a try," Mahler
The Washington Post began sponsoring one of the best known Peeps Shows five years ago. Its favorites through the years are online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/peeps