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Vaughn Elementary Kids Dive into “Ocean Day” PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Terry Sun | Contributing Writer   
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 22:49

Photo Credit: Jeff Pantukhuff, Spectral Q, Kids Ocean Day

KIDS OCEAN DAY 2014 – AERIAL ART PHOTO Nearly 4,000 Los Angeles kids, teachers and volunteers send a giant text message from the ocean to “CLEAN ME UP :)” as part of the 21st annual Kids Ocean Day Adopt-A-Beach Clean-Up organized by the Malibu Foundation, City of Los Angeles, Spectral Q, Keep LA Beautiful and the California Coastal Commission in Los Angeles May 15, 2014. The kids are alerting the world about the need to help the ocean and protect it from the everyday trash and plastic litter that flow down the streets, killing marine life and polluting food resources.

One hundred and thirtysix sixth-grade students from Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in Pacoima, along with teachers and parents as chaperones, got an important lesson about the Pacific Ocean outside of the classroom.

They joined thousands of other students from Los Angeles- based schools on May 15 helping to clean up trash and litter around the Dockweiler State Beach near Playa del Rey, and helping to form a giant human “text message” saying, “Clean Me Up” that was photographed from the air, to continue raising awareness among teachers and students around the world about how litter and pollution of ocean water adversely impacts our planet.

It was all part of the annual “Kid’s Ocean Day” Adopt-ABeach- Cleanup, now in its 21st year. It was the fourth year Vaughn students have taken part.

“I love doing this,” said Alma Nava, the community school coordinator with the Youth Policy Institute on the Vaughn campus, who oversees Vaughn’s participation.

“In the past we have taken fourth- and fifth-graders. Last year it was third-graders. I think all levels get something out of it, on being more cautious about litter and having more respect [for the environment]. We also do a community clean up and make them aware of how much trash is around here. You don’t have to go the beach, you can see what is [needed to clean up] around our own community.”

An estimated 3,500 students from 35 schools participated in the cleanup and aerial art “text message” photo event, that lasted from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other Valley area schools taking part include Hubbard of Sylmar, Anatola Elementary of Van Nuys, Melvin Avenue Elementary of Reseda, Carlos Santana Arts Academy and Plummer Elementary in North Hills, Fair Avenue Elementary and Roy Romer Middle School in North Hollywood, and Sherman Oaks Elementary of Sherman Oaks.

Before their cleaning chores, all students watched a presentation from Michael Klubock, executive director of the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education and Kids Ocean Day founder, on the need to take care of the ocean and beaches, and reducing waste.

“That is the picture that we present to the kids ... that there is an impact to you dropping trash 10 miles away,” Klubock said.

“It really is about connecting the kids to the beach and ocean, increasing their awareness of the impact of their actions…the big part of the program after their education is getting them down to the beach so they are engaged. It is getting their voice participating in a huge art piece so that their voice is heard.”

Nava said the toughest part of the day for the students was being positioned for aerial photo.

“It was very hot, even with the sea breeze,” she said. “We were the first group to sit down [for the photo] and had to wait for everyone else.”

Vaughn student help clean up trash and litter around the Dockweiler State Beach.

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