Nothin’ But Sand

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Another successful beach cleanup complete! On Saturday May 21, 2016 Team Marine and Marine Biology  students attended Heal the Bay’s Nothin’ But Sand beach cleanup at Will Rodgers State Beach along with over 700 volunteers. All in all we ended the day by collecting around 110 lbs of trash off the beach, even though people were comme ting about the beach already looking trash free. Thank you to all the volunteers!!!

Side note: Heal the Bay just uploaded their 2016 beach report card for California, look up your beach to see if it is a ‘bummer’ beach or not here

Streets to Sea

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By Amanda Samimi

On Thursday, April 28, 2016, Amanda and Christa represented Team Marine and Santa Monica High School at the annual Streets to the Sea Challenge put on by Generation Earth. Five middle schools and five high schools traveled to Disney Synergy Lab in Glendale to display their environmental projects. The students were asked to create and implement a water-wise solution to a problem present on their campuses. Team Marine submitted their water fountain audit to enter the competition. The day started off with breakfast, a presentation from one of the judges, followed by a walk-around display of students’ projects, lunch, another presentation, and lastly awards. Each school was asked to make a tri-fold display of their project. Team Marine repurposed an iMac box into a tri-fold poster board. We included pi charts of our data, photos of water fountains, and slides from our presentation to the sustainability coordinator of our district.

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Every school received a glass trophy for making it to this stage of the competition, but only one middle school and one high school received the grand prize of a boat trip on the Floating Laboratory. Both Santa Monica High School and El Camino Real High School received the same score from the judges, but El Camino was the ultimate winner. Team Marine would like to congratulate El Camino Real High School for the success of their grand-prize winning project. We would also like to thank Generation Earth for putting on the competition and choosing us as finalists.

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Great LA River Cleanup

On Saturday, April 23, Team Marine members joined hundreds of dedicated volunteers as part of the Great LA River Cleanup. This event was hosted in conjunction with Friends of the Los Angeles River and the Frog Spot. When we first got to the event, we were warmly welcomed by Frog Spot volunteers, who gave us sturdy gloves and transparent trash bags. When we initially started cleaning, we were shocked that the LA River was not concrete as we imagined, but actually an overgrown bamboo forest. We were even more shocked when we began collecting trash! Some trash highlights included a complete tennis net, clothes, and shopping carts embedded into the soil. Even more stunning were the sheer multitudes of photodegraded single-use plastic bags incorporated into the soil.

Tennis Net A full tennis net!

Photodegraded Single-Use Plastic Bags Team Marine member trying to dispose of a photodegraded single-use plastic bag.

We postulated that we could spend the whole time spent at the cleanup in one area, and still not fully clean it! This is so concerning, as the trash from the LA River goes straight to the ocean! Just imagine the harm just the trash featured above would cause to the already fragile marine environment.

trash Trash Team Marine members collected.

Team Marine co-captain Zoe Parcells was also featured in an interview with La Opinion! Read more here.

We had an extraordinary time interacting with the environment of the LA River, and would not hesitate to clean it up yet again! We also had a great experience with the Friends of the LA River and the Frog Spot! Check out their websites at folar.org and The Frog Spot!

The next Great LA River Cleanup (and the last one of the year!) is Saturday, April 30 from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. Check out this link for more information! folar.org/cleanup/

Happy Easter!

One of the downsides of Easter is the plastic easter eggs used in Easter egg hunts. Here are some alternatives:

Fabric eggs:
Fabric eggs can be made by stitching fabric pieces together and filling them with the same sweets that would be found in plastic eggs. If someone if your family is a talented seamstress, these eggs can turn out beautifully. Moreover, the communal effort required in making these can teach young children how to sew!
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Felt eggs:
Felt eggs could also be sewn together. Perhaps these eggs could contain the coveted cash prize rather than sweets! Felt is a versatile textile, and could be made similarly to fabric eggs. The picture below is a pocket-type egg. There are thicker felt eggs that are sold online as well.
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Papier-mâché eggs:
Papier-mâché eggs are fun and easy to make! While this method does require the use of balloons, it is still a colorful alternative to plastic eggs. See this website for instructions: http://www.notmartha.org/tomake/papiermacheeastereggs/ Additionally, papier-mâché eggs can be made in many different sizes and last for a long time if taken care of!
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Hollow chocolate eggs:
While these eggs would likely not survive an outdoors egg hunt, they would complement an Easter meal or dessert. Desserts are often covered with a chocolate dome, which is then melted by adding more warm chocolate! By making egg-shaped chocolate domes or simply hollow eggs, your family’s sweet tooth will be thoroughly satiated! The method featured here http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/987631/hollow-chocolate-easter-egg-recipe/ also involves balloons, but other recipes do not. See here http://www.buzzfeed.com/melissaharrison/magic-chocolate-bomb-sundae#.wyBooXjQK for the chocolate dome recipe, which does use a plastic ornament.
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Blown-out eggs:
Eggs that are drained are extremely delicate! Using non-toxic paint, anyone can be creative in making their individual egg! These eggs are best used for display. See this website for instructions: http://craftknife.blogspot.com/2012/04/tutorial-blown-out-easter-eggs.html
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Whether you celebrate or not, Team Marine wishes you a plastic-free Easter!
This blog was adapted from craftingagreenworld.com and growingagreenfamily.com.

Ocean Friendly Restaurants

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Team Marine is proud to partner with Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants (OFR) program! The goal of Ocean Friendly Restaurants is to reward restaurants for their beneficial practices.

Team Marine members have begun contacting local restaurants to inform them of this great opportunity. Perks of being an Ocean Friendly Restaurant include decals, informational materials, social media promotion, training of staff, and much more! Many restaurants already qualify for most, if not all, OFR requirements.

The three mandatory requirements include:
1. No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam).
2. Proper recycling practices are followed.
3. Water conservation efforts such as saving water in a drought, no hosing down outside without capturing the water to reduce urban runoff, and/or proper disposal of FOG (fats, oil and grease) to conserve water and help reduce sewage spills.

Restaurants also choose three of the following to implement:
4. Plastic straws are provided only upon request.
5. Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining and utensils for to-go food are provided only upon request.
6. No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
7. Discount offered for customers with reusable cup, mug, bag, etc.
8. No plastic bags offered for takeout or to-go orders.
9. Organic, local, and/or vegetarian/vegan food options are offered on a regular basis. All seafood must be a ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch.
10. Energy efficiency efforts are implemented where possible

If a restaurant implements all 10 of the qualifications, they are designated as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant!

Yesterday, Team Marine attended an OFR training session at the TOMS flagship store in Abbot Kinney. We met with Josephine Miller from the Santa Monica Office of Sustainability, who gave a great presentation on recyclable food containers. Team Marine was educated on new nationwide OFR criteria and proper recycling practices for restaurants in Santa Monica.

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Some information gleaned from Josephine’s presentation included examples of transitions from plastic packaging to paper packaging, even in franchise restaurants! Additionally, we learned that bioplastics (under #7) are not able to be composted with Santa Monica’s current program — as of now, they need to be composted in a special process. Interestingly, plastics with no number are actually the banned polystyrene (#6).

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We were happy to learn that Santa Monica aims to be a zero-waste community by 2030, with 95% landfill diversion! Restaurant patrons: you are also allowed to bring your own reusable takeout containers and pack your leftovers yourself — no intervention from the kitchen needed.

The link to the City of Santa Monica’s Non-Recyclable Food Service Container Ban website is http://www.sustainablesm.org/container

For more information regarding Ocean Friendly Restaurants, contact a Team Marine member or Surfrider-WLAM chair Emily Swallow at eswallow@wlam.surfrider.org.

World Water Day: March 22

We’d like to give a shoutout to our friends at WAVE club at Marina High School in Huntington Beach for their work for World Water Day! World Water Day is today, March 22! In order to initiate a conversation about water at their high school, WAVE created a large poster to inform students of the status of the drought. WAVE members then invited students to write their pledge to conserve water not only today, but every day.
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Marina High School student Austin Hwang founded WAVE in response to a lack on environmentally focused clubs on their campus. “I started WAVE in order to raise awareness about things from global climate change to ways to conserve water. Our main goal is to raise funds to provide access to clean water in places like Africa and Asia and it has been definitely both fun and rewarding!”
Here are some more resources for World Water Day.
How can you help?
» https://tap.unicefusa.org/mobile: Every 5 minutes away from your phone = 1 day of clean water for children in need!
» https://thewaterproject.org/: Donate to increase access to water in sub-Saharan Africa!
» Conserve water:
  • Turn off your faucet when brushing your teeth
  • Water your grass only when you step on it and it doesn’t spring back up
  • Wash your car only early in the morning or late at night

» Change your Facebook cover photo to raise awareness!

 Why is this day important?
» 1 in 9 people worldwide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.
» Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease.
» Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease.
» By investing in clean water alone, young children around the world can gain more than 413 million days of health!
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Thank you Austin and Marina High School WAVE for your work! We hope to implement a similar activism project here in Santa Monica!
Visit WAVE at http://mhswave.org/ and follow WAVE on Instagram @mhswave!

Blitz the Bay Youth Summit

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On March 5, 2016, two Team Marine members, Amanda and Christa attended the Blitz the Bay Youth Summit put on by Heal the Bay. The summit took place in Playa Vista near the Ballona Wetlands. The purpose of the summit was to get youth to explore biodiversity and become involved in BioBlitzing, in which a group of people go to a particular area and record species. We were trained to use a new app called iNaturalist to help us BioBlitz. We used the app to record different plant life around the Playa Vista park. Near the end of the day, some members of the Heal the Bay club at Samohi taught us how to do the BioBlitz dance. People are posting videos of this dance (to DJ Snake’s song Bird Machine) to enter the The National Park Service BioBlitz Dance Challenge. This summit was in preparation for Heal the Bay’s upcoming Bio Blitz events and for their club challenge. The club or group to get the most species tagged or the most observations on the iNaturalist app wins the Blitz the Bay Club Challenge. Team Marine plans on participating in this challenge. We would like to thank Heal the Bay for inviting us to the summit and we look forward to attending their BioBlitz events.

 

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