Kids' Ocean Day: Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup
A stand in the sand: Clean Seas Please!
Out of the approximately 875 elementary students that came from inland Orange County schools on June 7 to participate in the “18th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day: Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup” at Huntington State Beach, nearly 160 of the kids had never even been to the beach before.
“How can we get them to care if they don’t get to be physically involved in it? Coming to the beach gives them a connection and motivation,” explained Orange County Coastkeeper education director Briana Madden.
So students from Anaheim, Buena Park, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Orange got the chance to not only enjoy a beautiful, breezy day at the beach, but also to make an environmental difference.
“They see the impact once they get here and what they can do to reduce the trash,” continued Madden.
The project is planned by the non-profit organization OCC in honor of World Oceans Day, which takes place globally on June 8 to celebrate the conservation of oceans, seas, great lakes, and watersheds.
On June 7, dozens of OCC volunteers in bright teal shirts walked around with the students, parents, and teachers to help them find, collect, and log unnatural debris. The 3rd through 6th grade students excitedly sorted through the sand with sifters or their hands.
Broken bits of plastic, Styrofoam, metal, rubber, paper, glass, and cloth as well as bottle caps, plastic bags, cigarette butts, fishing line and other trash were kept track by each little group as they walked up and down the coastline.
As part of the project, assemblies were given at the nine participating schools beforehand to teach them the importance of the ocean and how their actions inland can affect the coastland. As part of the June 7 cleanup, attendees took a “stand in the sand” and created a huge formation of a flounder saying, “Clean Seas Please!”
The design depicting this year’s theme was meant to emphasize the need for people to change pollution-creating behaviors – such as using one-time-use, non-degradable plastic and Styrofoam products – and prevent trash from flowing into oceans – by picking it up before it washes down storm drains.
For those who wish to participate in next year’s event or would like more information on conservation and other programs available, contact Orange County Coastkeeper at 714-850-1965 or go to www.coastkeeper.org.