At 9 years old, Glendale boy makes his mark for the environment

At the Lego store in the Glendale Galleria, everyone knows this name: Wyatt Workman.

The 9-year-old Glendale resident is known there for his love of Legos. His most recent masterpiece — a three-story haunted house with glow-in-the-dark ghosts and a secret unfolding staircase.

He needed no help from his parents to build it; he stopped asking for adult help when he was 7.

“I started liking Legos when I was 4 and I had to have my dad help me,” he said.

But Wyatt’s name is gaining familiarity far beyond Glendale. A fan letter from a 4-year-old in Colorado Wyatt received this week is proof.

At age 7, Wyatt created the claymation movie “Save the Sea from the Trash Monster,” which tells the story of the harm of human garbage on ocean life and offers a human solution.

The six-minute movie was posted on YouTube and made into a book. Wyatt has given all sales from the book and donations from an art show that screened the film to Oceana, an international conservation organization.

After Wyatt helped raise $5,000 for Oceana, he was named this year as one of 10 national winners of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which carried a $2,500-prize.

Wyatt said he was already an artist who loved “making tiny little things” out of clay when his mother showed him pictures of the gyre of floating trash in the Pacific.

“My mom showed me these pictures of the sea getting hurt. I was like, ‘Oh, no. That is not right.’ I wanted to do something to help,” he said.

It took him months, but after making dozens of clay figures of sea creatures combating plastic in the ocean, Wyatt created the film seen by people around the world via the Internet.

“I wanted to be famous for art. I didn’t want to be famous for singing. I didn’t want to be famous for writing books,” Wyatt said.

Donations still continue to roll in for Oceana through Wyatt’s website, where people can also purchase his book and T-shirts that read: “I am not a trash monster.”

After learning about Wyatt, Save the Manatee Club named him an honorary member.

Last year, Wyatt received an award from GQ magazine at their annual Gentleman’s Ball in New York City. The statue figure now sits in his family’s living room, where Wyatt has recently garnered more plaques and honors than his father Lyle Workman — a music composer.

Nevermind that the actor Josh Lucas presented the figure to Wyatt at the dinner or that Wyatt posed for pictures with Ashton Kutcher that made the gossip blogs and still circulate the Internet.

When Wyatt pulled down the statue, he made a disapproving face.

"By the way, this is plastic," he said.

Watch Wyatt's Workman's film

Follow Kelly on Twitter @kellymcorrigan.

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