PLAYA DEL REY — Nearly 4,500 Los Angeles-area students as well as teachers and volunteers participated in the 24th annual Kids Ocean Day Adopt-A-Beach Clean up at Dockweiler State Beach May 25.
Celebrating this year’s theme of “Come Together” for the ocean, students cleaned the beach and then formed a human aerial art piece in the sand.
Third grader Tyler Giddens from Brentwood Science Magnet was honored for her poem “Coming Together for the Ocean,” which won a citywide poetry contest.
The day’s activities began with a program kick off involving Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner Luz Rivas, L.A. Sanitation Watershed Protection Program Manager Shahram Kharaghani, California Coastal Commission Chair Dayna Bochco and Vice Chair Effie Turnbull-Sanders and Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education Executive Director and Kids Ocean Day Founder Michael Klubock.
“It is very important to bring children together and teach them to be environmental stewards,” Rivas said. “Kids Ocean Day is a great opportunity to help shape good habits early on in a child’s life. Teaching good habits will ensure our beaches, oceans and all waterways stay clean for future generations.”
Kids Ocean Day takes place during National Public Works Week with this year’s theme: “Public Works Connects Us,” celebrating the role public works plays in connecting us all together.
Kids Ocean Day is the culmination of a year-round school assembly program by the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education, which teaches school children about the adverse impacts of pollution on oceans and waterways.
Kids Ocean Day is an opportunity for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom.
“Kids Ocean Day is about empowering kids into action,” Klubock said. By getting children involved in a hands-on activity after learning about the environment in the classroom, we strengthen the connection between individual actions and the health of the environment. As these children get older, they will remember the time that they made a difference and feel empowered to continue protecting our oceans.”
The Kids Ocean Day’s finale is the creation of an aerial art piece. The 4,500 students, teachers and volunteers created the words “Come Together” and individual sea creatures on the sand.
The resulting photo (on the cover of today’s Independent) highlights the importance of teamwork to keep the ocean clean.
Kids Ocean Day Los Angeles is one of six in the state of California, sponsored by the California Coastal Commission. Eight thousand children participated in Kids Ocean Day statewide, with half of them at the Los Angeles event.
“These students have been learning about the many ways humans depend on the ocean, and about the threats to ocean health,” Bochco, the chair of the California Coastal Commission said. “And now they are all coming together to do something positive for the ocean. Through their aerial art, they hope to inspire adults to do the same, because they understand a simple truth — it will take all of us joining forces to address global problems like plastic pollution, warming seas and overfishing.”
“We know that children who enjoy the beach become adults who value and protect the coast,” said Sam Schuchat, executive officer of the California State Coastal Conservancy. “We love supporting Kids Ocean Day not only to give young people this fantastic experience, but also to help instill the values of conservation and stewardship in the next generation.”
Kids Ocean Day in Los Angeles is organized by the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education; LA Sanitation Watershed Protection Program; the city of Los Angeles Board of Public Works; the California Coastal Commission; California State Coastal Conservancy; and Keep Los Angeles Beautiful.
The California Coastal Commission coordinates the program statewide and provides financial support through the Whale Tail License Plate Fund.
Organizers work hard to ensure that Kids Ocean Day is an environmentally sensitive event that incorporates composting, recycling and an overall reduction of non-biodegradable materials. LA Sanitation facilitates the recycling, composting or disposal of all collected beach trash and lunch refuse.
Kids Ocean Day is thankful to many of its supporters. Author Joel Harper has donated a copy of his book “All the Way to the Ocean” to each of the participating schools. Waste Management, FedEx, A-1 Rentals, Los Angeles Airport, SJ Linking Systems, Whole Foods, Coffee Bean & Tea, Klean Kanteen, Kid Basix, Southwest Airlines, Target, NRG Energy and Westin Hotels contribute volunteers and to the event’s sustainability efforts.