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.
On Saturday February 20th, a couple of Team Marine members attended Heal the Bay’s ‘Nothin’ But Sand’ beach cleanup at the Venice Beach Pier. The turnout was amazing, with over 1077 people, and the amount of trash that was collected was even more impressive which was measured at around 292 pounds! As we were scanning the beach we noticed that there was a large amount of plastic bottle caps, small pieces of styrofoam, cigarette butts and plastic straws. One of our captains, Zoe, took photos of the straws we collected for her other club (Reducing Straw Pollution). We also met two 8th graders from Lincoln Middle School who we ended up talking with about what we do and hopefully convinced them to join their freshman year! Cigarette butts were one of the most abundant litter found on this beach, probably because there was rain a couple of days before and they most washed down from the streets. We spent 3 hours cleaning, and because of the sheer amount of people who showed up, we picked up even the microsystems and the beach looked absolutely beautiful!
On February 5th, 2016 Team Marine was delighted to have Hadley from #climatesign (climatesign.org) come to our meeting to talk to us about the “peace sign of this era.” The climate sign is hand gesture in which the fingers form the letter C, which simply stands for “climate.” Individuals can raise the climate sign as a symbol for the progression to a world without the damaging effects of climate change. One can raise the climate sign when seeing someone recycle, ride a bike to work, or drink from a reusable water bottle. We talked with Hadley about some new ideas that would allow the climate sign to become more well known by the public. Such ideas included the production of stickers, pins and patches, the creation of art murals, and many more. Team Marine is extremely excited about seeing the future of climate sign. This small gesture can consciously remind individuals that changing the Earth for the better is a daily and habitual practice, as well as encourage others to start or continue environmentally beneficial practices. So, don’t be surprised if you see someone raising a C next time you bring your reusable bag to the grocery store.
On Saturday Sept. 20th Team Marine and Marine Bio/Environmental Science students, left the Heal the Bay Coastal Cleanup Day and ran straight to the Santa Monica Civic Center to show Volts Wattson. We spent the beginning of the day speaking to people at the event and showing off the new upgrades to the car. Later that day we left a few members to stay outside with the car, while the rest of us went to watch a panel of environmental celebrities talking about a new movie coming out this spring, My Lunch With the President. Mayor of Santa Monica Kevin McKeown introduced the panel which included Paul Scott, whom the movie is highlighting, Kelly Olsen, the amazing director, Ed Begley Jr., famous environmental actor, John Densmore, former Doors drummer, and Alexandra Paul, actress and co-founder of Plug in America. All these eco-warriors expressed their love for electric cars, describing their “first times” driving in an electric car among other things. The panel also discussed the movie, after we watched the 8 min teaser. We cannot wait to see the movie! Thank you to Alt Car for hosting this amazing panel and for allowing us to showcase our car again. Also many thanks Wells Fargo, Left Coast Electric, the City of Santa Monica, and all of our partners!
On Saturday, September twentieth, Team Marine members attended a Coastal Clean-up Day beach clean up hosted by Heal the Bay. They along with a large group of peers spent three hours scouring the area between lifeguard station twenty and twenty-seven for trash.
The most aggravating aspect of this event was the blatantly negative of human’s on the environment. After the first rain of the season it was particularly easy to see the sheer quantity of items people in our community have carelessly discarded. The sand and sea were overwhelmed with littered cigarette butts, Styrofoam chunks and plastic straws. Each of these items were broken into tiny pieces and scattered along the shore. Completely clearing one square meter of space could take fifteen minutes. While this injustice was disgusting in aesthetic, what is most concerning is that we could not pick up every piece. Many of the pieces were miniscule, making them impossible to locate and easy for marine organisms to accidentally consume. The toxic chemicals in litter, specifically plastic particulates, will surely cause a rift in the marine ecosystem; and therefore the biodiversity and food it currently provides.
While this realization may have caused some dismay, this event was personally motivating because we were able to be part of the mitigation of the issue of plastic pollution. The issue itself has been discussed on many occasions, and it was of course reaffirmed in the emails preceding the event. However, this event was crucial in the way that it allowed people to see firsthand the effect of humans on the environment. A large part of achieving environmental peace is moving towards sustainable habits, and the things we saw at this event were definitely motivators for change.
On July 25th, Team Marine members were honored with a commendation from the City of Santa Monica by mayor Kevin McKeown. We received this commendation in response to our research concerning Cigarette Pollution and Mitigation in our city. We were also applauded for our sharing of this research through the Los Angles County Science Fair and the California State Science Fair. Being recognized for our work was amazing , and given a platform to speak out about the significance of plastic pollution was even more so. We are excited for our coming campaign to be based off our research and are happy that the Council is receptive.
On May 18 Team Marine hosted a sorting event, for all the bottles and cans that had been collected by students in the previous semester. Most of the Team Marine members were at a Science Fair event, but a few stayed and ran the whole event, with about 30 students from SaMoHi and SMC. Within a couple of hours the plastics, can and glasses were separated and counted and loaded up onto a truck. We collected 110 Plastic, 3,872 Plastic 1, 721 glass bottles, and 2111 cans. Overall it was not our largest haul, but it was still a success and it will make us strive to get more in the new school year!
As you may know, our amazing mentor, Mr. Benjamin Kay loves to incorporate service learning events into his curriculum so that his students can learn more about Marine Biology and Environmental Science through movies, fairs, beach cleanups, and simply getting out into the environment to apply their knowledge to the real world. On Wednesday April 29th, 2015 our TM President Kimberly Fuentes accompanied his college students and high school student to the amazing movie “Revolution” directed by Rob Stewart and to our surprise there was also a special appearance by the one and only Rob Stewart after the movie for a Q&A session although everyone was too in awe by the movie to even process what we just watched (yes, it was that good). It did an amazing job on covering all of the current environmental issues that TM advocates for such as overfishing, ocean acidification, climate change, overpopulation, air quality, the excessive burning of fossil fuels, and politicians’ inability to compromise on these issues due to their conflicting interests. A great introduction film for all of you out there reading this that want to familiarize and educate yourself with what is happening in your world. We can not count on our government to educate us about the problems with it because they’re content with us being ignorant. That allows them to do whatever they want, but we are in charge of changing the world and starting the Revolution as we always do in time of crisis. So on that note, watch the movie yourself and share it with friends by going to therevolutionmovie.com.
Earlier this month Team Marine members Kimberly Fuentes, Hannah Persinko, and Zoe Parcells made it to the Heal the Bay Headquarters. We learned so much about water conservation but most importantly we and several other students representing their high school played a game and got a sense of what water rationing would be like if this drought gets any worse. No we’re not that bad yet but it’s only getting worse and let’s not wait till we have to ration our water for us to do something about it!
On that note, I would love to invite all of you to HTB’s 2015 youth summit that will fall on May 3rd, 2015 from 1:30- 6:00pm at the Veteran’s Memorial Building in Culver City California. We highly recommend that you come since last years’ summit was so fascinating and engaging! All high school students willing to learn about things that they can do to help stop this drought are eligible and there will be free food! If you’re interested in attendeing this amazing event please make sure to RSVP here: http://htbspring2015youthsummit.eventbrite.com
On March 27th, 2015 Team Marine students Kimberly Fuentes, Martin Liu, and Zoe Parcells won first place at the Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair in the category of Environmental Management. We couldn’t be more proud not only of our team members who went to go represent us, but also of the positive feedback that we got from LA Magazine, The Santa Monica Mirror, Planet Experts, Surf Santa Monica, SMMUSD, and our school Principal Mrs. Mayoral. Of course Team Marine never competes for the prize but rather the advancement of the cause (although winning is pretty cool too)! Our year-long research study on cigarette accumulation and mitigation in Santa Monica, CA showed revolutionary results in regards to what we should do about our cigarette pollution problem and with this data we plan on marching up to Santa Monica City Council and asking them to initiate a ban on smoking cigarettes in the city of Santa Monica (except in private residences such as a car or your home). Our study shows that indeed there are areas of high cigarette butt abundance but that the deployment of cigarette receptacles would not be very efficient because these “hotspots” are subject to change in space and time as certain events such as concerts on Montana. You can see the complete results from our study in the “Research” section of our blog.
This was such an amazing learning experience as well as another great achievement to have under our belt. Although there were many times when we were literally working till the deadline and pushing ourselves to the limit since our actual research didn’t fully end until around 2 weeks before the fair we persevered and didn’t let any obstacle stop us. We would like to thank all of the amazing Samohi students that helped in collected cigarettes and data with us as well as our spectacular TM members that didn’t let anything from schoolwork to weather prevent them from making sure they collected! A special shout out to our mentor Mr. Kay who put in lots of midnights towards helping us and not giving up hope no matter how dim the odds seemed. Just goes to show that when you put in the effort and believe in yourself nothing can stop you!