Life Without Plastic’s Spork Donation

Team Marine has received the 50 sporks Mr. Kay ordered as well as the ten sporks that the company, Life Without Plastic, donated. We are very appreciative of their generous donation. Team Marine was very excited to receive the sporks and will continue to promote the message of switching from single-use utensils to sustainable alternatives. A big thank you to Jay Sinha from Life Without Plastic!


Visit their website here:


Team Marine T-Shirts are Here!

Two weeks ago, Team Marine received their customized 2012-2013 Team Marine T-shirts; special thanks to Justin Tavaf who designed the shirts. Team Marine will now be sporting our shirts to every event as well as every Friday.

Another special thanks to Terri Bidle, Lynn Whitley, and DJ Kast Da Vinci for providing Team Marine’s car and bag teams the opportunity to go to Catalina Island for the QuikScience Challenge. In return, Team Marine gave them Team Marine T-Shirts as a way of showing our appreciation.

Riding Currents

Team Marine attended an event at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, CA on this Wednesday, October 10 following docking of the Riding Currents craft along its ocean journey. Riding Currents is a project started by Billy Dutton to raise awareness about plastic pollution and alternative energy. They have outfitted a 22-foot duffy boat with solar panels and lithium-ion batteries, sailing from Santa Barbara, CA to Ensenada, Mexico, more than 350 miles. They will make the entire journey emissions-free, and along the way, they will collect water samples and drag a trawl behind the boat to collect plastic debris.



Marcus Eriksen, founder of the organization 5gyres, gave a riveting presentation at the event on his travels around the world by boat, finding the high density of plastic pollution in all 5 major oceanic gyres and other patches throughout the seas.

Several members of Team Marine attended the event and our own Matilda Mead spoke about efforts to reduce the use of single-use plastics, while wearing a costume made of plastic cutlery that found its way to the Santa Monica beach.



Finally, we toured the Riding Currents boat and Billy showed us the impressive arrangement of batteries below the seat cushions and the tiny, but powerful, electric motor that has carried them thousands of miles down the California coast.



By Matthew Ware

National Plug-In Day

On Sunday September 23rd, Team Marine members travelled to El Segundo where National Plug In Day was hosted. The Automobile Driving Museum (ADM) is a destination for anyone who loves cars and the role they have had in our lives. On National Plug In Day, a variety of electric cars were displayed. We were presented about how the cars have environmentally sustainable engines.



Also at the event was nationally known teen-icon Jordan Howard. She attended the Environmental Charter High School and is influencing the youth to become more green. With the electric vehicles and highly acclaimed representatives, National Plug In Day created a nationwide observance drawing global attention to the environmental, economic and other benefits of plug-in electric cars.



By Mia Scalise

Car Team’s Catalina QuikSCience Award Trip!

The QuikSCience Challenge winning team’s prize is a week-long trip to Catalina Island. The official description for this trip on the QuikSCience website is: “an expedition for the students and their teacher or advisor to the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island. The one-week trip will include expeditions to different parts of the island, visits to laboratories at the USC center, snorkeling, kayaking and hiking.”

I say it should read “the best possible way to spend 5 days of summer of ’12

At 4:00pm on June 29, Team Marine joined the 2nd place winners from Hawaii’s Kamehameha High School to board a boat to the USC’s Wrigley Institute on Catalina Island.

Our first “actual” day started on June 30. We were given an orientation of the campus from the marine research laboratories to the touch tanks. We were able to hold a sea cucumber, a starfish sea star, and a sea urchin. We then set out kayaking, paired with a buddy from the Hawaii team, and rowed our way to Two Harbors with Terri and DJ explaining places of geological importance along the way. Snorkeling was a very, very cold, but nonetheless an unforgettable experience. We first wrestled with our wetsuits (an article of clothing that is extremely difficult to put on) and put on our snorkel gear. Terri led us into a narrow passageway to a cave and then we swam to the other side of the boat dock to see leopard sharks and bat rays. After all the energy-consuming activities, we were all ravenous and wasted no time devouring food for dinner. If this was an indication of how much we were going to eat for the rest of the trip, I was quite worried. At night, we had a plankton lab which consisted of observing samples under a microscope. Lorraine helped us with the plankton tow with a 80 micron mesh net. We were able to see bioluminescence when Lorraine ran her hands against the net. It was just magical watching bright sparks from bioluminescent plankton twinkle in the night.

Team Marine in the water before snorkeling began


Day 2 was more relaxed, yet still packed with adventure and fun. We took a road trip to Little Harbor where we went for a hike and explored the beach (all while being environmentally conscious and picking up trash and single use plastics such as bottle caps, straws, and foam). We then unleashed our artistic side with soapstone carving. I made a fish while others created a seashell, a shark, and a ball. We then took the bus to visit the island fox (which was very small, comparable to a household cat), a bald eagle, and a golden eagle. Along the way, we were fortunate enough to spot multiple bisons! Dinner was at Airport in the Sky, where some students tried bison burgers. Back at the USC institute, we headed out for a night snorkel. This time, I was ready for the cold; equipped with two wetsuits and a hood. We saw lobsters, opal eyes, and when we shined our torch in the water, schools of Senoritas and larvae would swim toward it. Even with my prescription mask, I couldn’t see very well in the dark and lost my snorkeling partner, Annie, too many times to count. However, the night life of the sea was fascinating to say the least.

Looking out onto the incredible view

The third day was the best day of this trip for me (with the exception of saying goodbye to the Hawaii team). We were definitely sad to see them leave and felt their absence. After a wave of goodbyes, we came back to the institute and DJ showed us her secret hiking trail, which led up to a Great Blue Heron’s nest. We felt adventurous and hiked further up the trail (DJ admitted that she had never gone past the point). It was a good thing we spontaneously traveled further, because we discovered the perfect place. It had a wooden bench that looked out onto the ocean. We also saw a pod of dolphins diving as they crazily chased after their prey. At Two Harbors, Team Marine went mountain biking on a trail that went past Cherry Cove. Thanks to this trip, I discovered my new favorite activity: paddle boarding. It was the first time I had paddle boarded and I was scared of falling off. Fortunately, I found my balance and headed out to the deeper water. I absolutely enjoyed all the activities Terri and DJ had planned for us that day.

Mountain Biking at Two Harbors


The last day for Car Team on Catalina Island was spent with the Bag Team (who were here for their one-day trip). Terri and DJ took all of us kayaking and upon Mr. Kay’s request we paddled to Bird Rock. It was a tiny island covered in bird scat with a small patch of green grass. There were sea lions resting there. As we got closer and closer, the stench was overbearing. We pulled the neck of our Team Marine shirts up to cover our noses and paddled away. This was followed by a short hike where we spotted a trail of bison poop and indeed we saw a lonesome bison at the top of the hill.

The amazing Terri (QuikSCience Program Manager)!


The past few days on Catalina Island was incredible and I’m grateful to Terri and DJ for always putting the students before themselves and making sure we had fun. Not only was this an adventure, but also it proved to be a great way to absorb information about the wildlife and marine life of Catalina. As I stood on the boat looking back at the island getting further and further away, I found myself realizing this trip had brought Team Marine members even closer together. QuikSCience Catalina Trip ’12, you will be remembered for years to come.


Written by Angelina Hwang


Team Marine’s Celebratory Party

On June 13, 2012, Team Marine held a party to celebrate our year’s worth of hard work and achievements. From the QuikSCience Challenge to the Annual Sustainable Santa Monica Student Art Contest, we had a successful year in raising awareness about plastic pollutions and tail pipe emissions. We celebrated by eating a cake made by Kellie Abbott. We would like to congratulate all of our seniors for their help and dedication to the team. Live sustainably.

The Rice Crispy Treat is a model of the 1971 Volkswagen Beetle, which has almost reached its completion stage in the electric conversion process. The BP oil logo with “Epic Fail” written below it, pokes fun at the gas companies for their past failures, including oil spills and lack of environmental awareness.


Written by Preston Kim, Justin Tavaf, and Angelina Hwang

Life Straws Recycling Event


On April 20, some members of Team Marine, along with Mr Kay’s Biology and Marine Biology students, held a recycling event. We collected recyclables including plastic bottles, glass bottles, and aluminum cans from around the school campus into trash bags. Students from Mr Kay’s classes brought recyclables from their homes also. Once all the trash bags were compiled into one area, they were then sorted into different groups: #1 plastics, #2 plastics, aluminum cans, and glass. After almost three and a half hours of sorting and tallying the recyclables, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that we collected 6000 #1 plastics, 237 #2 plastics, 3290 aluminum cans, and 634 glass bottles. The grand total from this event was 10,161! The money raised from this successful event amounted to $508.05 and with this we purchased 92 Lifestraws, water purifying straws, to donate to villages in Africa. This great achievement was due to the enthusiastic participation of Team Marine and Marine Bio students at Samohi. Thank you to all those who volunteered their time for a great cause and to Mr Parker, Ms Bartbell, and Ms Halley-Cox for their continuous collections!







Team Marine in the Newspaper!

Team Marine’s Car Team has been featured in the February 11-12 issue of the Santa Monica Daily Press. This is a great feat as it means that our work is being informed to the community. The Daily Press highlights the motivation that encouraged Team Marine in taking up the electric car conversion; the health effects of gas powered cars. However, the environmental impacts tailpipe pollution also acted as a catalyst. Ocean acidification, climate change, smog, and black carbon. These matters directly affect global ecosystems and become more pronounced with increasing population size and the need for transportation.  The world’s living conditions and health are in rapid decline due to a reliance on fossil fuels.  The electric car is one solution to these issues as it produces zero emissions. While it is not a perfect remedy, since the electricity used to power the car has some power plant emissions, EVs greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions due to the higher efficiency of power plants. The paper also mentions the team’s urgent need for batteries, the most important component of the car, in order to complete the project. The purpose behind selecting lithium ion batteries to power the car is due to their large energy density and convenient size – meaning they can pack a lot of punch in a small space.


Written by Angelina Hwang