Nearly 4,000 Los Angeles students, teachers and volunteers are participating today in the 21st annual Kids Ocean Day Adopt-A-Beach Clean-Up at Dockweiler State Beach. The kids will clean the beach and form a giant text message from the ocean, saying “CLEAN ME UP.” By taking a stand in the sand, the kids become voices of the ocean and teachers to the world, raising awareness of the adverse impacts of litter and pollution on the ocean.
The day’s activities begin with a program kick-off involving City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works Commissioner Mike Davis; LA Sanitation Assistant Director Adel Hagekhalil; Deputy District Director for Councilmember Mike Bonin (District 11) Nate Kaplan; California Coastal Commission Marine Debris Program Manager Eben Schwartz; Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education and Kids Ocean Day Founder and Executive Director Michael Klubock; aerial artist and environmental educator John Quigley of Spectral Q and students from Sherman Oaks Elementary Charter School, who created the text message from the ocean. Students pick up trash in a massive beach cleanup before forming the aerial art mosaic.
Kids Ocean Day is an environmentally sensitive event that incorporates composting, recycling and an overall reduction of non-biodegradable materials. In addition to beach cleanup, students will compost many of the food items from lunch, including vegetables, bread, paper napkins, cutlery, cups and brown paper bags, which will then be donated to Odyssey Orchards, a garden program at Los Angeles’ Odyssey Charter School. The City of LA will help facilitate the recycling and composting of all beach debris and lunch refuse. The human aerial art piece itself will be plastic-free; the image will be stenciled with wooden paintbrush, reusable cardboard tubes and natural fiber rope.
“Keeping our beaches clean is a team effort,” says LA Sanitation Assistant Director Adel Hagekhalil. “The City of Los Angeles works hard to protect the quality of our local waters—from our zero waste program that encourages recycling and reuse to projects designed to prevent stormwater pollution from going into our creeks, rivers and bays. But we can’t do it alone. Kids Ocean Day is a great way to get LA’s future generation engaged in a cleaner, healthier ocean.”
Kids Ocean Day is the culmination of a year-round school assembly program by the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education to teach Los Angeles school kids about the adverse impacts of pollution to the ocean.
According to the foundation’s founder and executive director Michael Klubock, “Kids Ocean Day is about connecting kids to the beaches and ocean. Our goal is to take the powerful message of personal responsibility to the world. The kids are becoming aware of the impact their actions have on the ocean. They see that plastic trash and litter is under the surface of the ocean and entering our food chain. They are learning that what starts with us ends up in the ocean. Kids Ocean Day is dedicated to kids teaching the world about the damage littering on the streets does to the beaches and ocean.”
The Grade 3 students at Sherman Oaks Elementary Charter School know how important it is to protect our coastline. They created the CLEAN ME UP message from the ocean that will be transformed by aerial artist John Quigley into a 4,000-person mosaic, comprised mostly of students from 33 Los Angeles area schools.
The Los Angeles celebration of Kids Ocean Day is one of six in the state of California, sponsored by the California Coastal Commission. More than 8,500 kids are expected to participate in Kids Ocean Day statewide. “The students and teachers who participate in this program are leading the way to a more sustainable world,” says Steve Kinsey, Chair of the California Coastal Commission. “They are coastal stewards, caring for the beach and raising awareness. I hope the people who see their aerial art design in the sand will be inspired by their example and heed their message: that our lives depend upon each of us doing our part to help take care of the ocean.” The Coastal Commission coordinates the program statewide and provides financial support from the Whale Tail License Plate Fund.
Kids Ocean Day in Los Angeles was organized by the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education, the California Coastal Commission, the City of Los Angeles, Keep Los Angeles Beautiful and Spectral Q.
“The City of Los Angeles has been a proud partner of Kids Ocean Day for 21 years,” says Los Angeles Department of Public Works Commissioner Mike Davis. “Thousands of kids have been educated and brought to the beach because children play an essential role in keeping our local waterways and ocean clean for future generations.”