Students Collect 100+ lbs of Trash on Education Day

Coastal Cleanup Education Day 2012 Santa Monica Pier

Nearly 700 elementary school students — many of whom had never visited the ocean before — arrived at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, for a day of environmentally focused games, lessons and activies. Heal the Bay's eighth annual Coastal Cleanup Education Day allowed students from underserved communities to explore the beach and aquarium, leading up to the Coastal Cleanup Day, the largest volunteer day on the planet, on Saturday, Sept. 15.

The eager students from six schools collected 109 pounds of trash and five cylindrical feet of smelly cigarette butts. They participated in activies ranging from sand crab sifting to a competitve beach cleanup. Heal the Bay provided the free field trip for school groups including bus transportation and a gift bag.

Tara Treiber, Heal the Bay's Education Director, remembers a little boy with tears of joy who came up to her at lunch. The young man "literally tugged on my skirt and said, 'Excuse me, Miss, but I just needed to thank you for bringing me to see the beach today.'" 

Heal the Bay also unveiled its new teacher resources as part of a partnership with National Geographic Education. The Environmental Literacy Guides cover fresh water, ocean, energy and climate change and are available at no cost to all K-8 classrooms throughout California. 

Coastal Cleanup Education Day 2012

The "Great White Sharks" from Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School show off their fins.

 Coastal Cleanup Education Day 2012

The fifth graders from Downtown Value School collected more than five cylindrical feet of cigarette butts from Santa Monica Beach.

See more photos from Coastal Cleanup Education Day.

Download the guides from National Geographic.