SaMoHi Conducts Water Quality Tests at Santa Monica Pier by Jianjia Gettinger

A few weeks ago, I led eleven members of Santa Monica High School’s Heal the Bay club through a series of water quality tests at the Santa Monica Pier. As president of the club, I try hard to find new educational projects our members can partake in outside of the standard classroom we meet in every week. With the help of a few Heal the Bay staff members, I decided on an “ecosystems” project. Through presentations, vid-

eos, guest speakers, and weekend field trips, we learn about the diversity of various habitats as well as what we can do to counter the negative human impacts that are endangering the fragile ecosystems.

Our first ecosystem was our very own Santa Monica Bay. On a sunny Saturday morning, eleven club members met on the beach right next to the Santa Monica pier and ran three different water quality tests: zinc, copper, and hardness (mineral content). The copper and zinc tests were successful. They both showed normal levels of each metal, which was surprising considering the site was right next to a parking lot – the main source of the metals entering the natural environment. Additionally, it had rained two days prior to our tests, which would usually produce higher levels of runoff. The hardness was too difficult to survey given the greater abundance of minerals in ocean water as compared to freshwater, which the kit was designed for.

This experience was enlightening in that it taught students how to test for results, introduced them to the frustrating nature of science, and instilled a ne-

wfound curiosity that is hard to teach in a typical classroom setting. After we finished testing, members hypothesized reasons as to why the levels of copper and zinc in the water were much lower than we were expecting. One member argued that maybe the heavy rain diluted the toxic metals that were present while another member suggested that perhaps there weren’t many pollutants to begin with, because of restrictive legislation passed by concerned citizens and policymakers. The tests were fun and engaging, but for the next ecosystem, we are hoping to get different kinds of kits so that we can test a wider range of characteristics.

In our debrief the following week, various club members who went expressed their enthusiasm about the water quality testing. Some members were interested in the science and chemistry behind the tests. Others were more interested in the application of the tests and how the data could be useful in future toxicity reports. The club members who participated left with a new curiosity and perspective on the ocean that they visit so often.

Mark Keppel High School takes on Coastal Cleanup Day! by Valerie Dao

On October 15, 2018, 15 members of MKHS Heal the Bay went to Torrance Beach for Coastal Cleanup Day.  The club had partnered with a Torrance Pharmaceutical Company, Bachem. Bachem gave free t shirts to all of its volunteer employees and offered them to the club members as well. This helped club members and employees bond over service.

After listening to a safety talk, the organizers informed us that they hid 3 golden starfish out in the beach for us to find. If we found these starfish, we would receive a prize. We couldn’t wait until we could get on the beach to start looking for those starfish. We agreed to split up into groups and meet up at 11:30 at the top. The organizers gave us burlap-like trash bags to gather our trash in. These trash bags were emptied of their trash in a trash can and reused for new volunteers, reducing accumulating trash. There were already many people out on the beach cleaning up when we started. It was difficult to find trash on that beach, which was amazing. The city of Torrance kept a well-maintained and clean beach. My group of 3 looked in the clumps of seaweed to find trash, and found many tiny bits of Styrofoam. But there was not much trash that was visible.  As we were walking around the coastline, we bumped into many other groups who were cleaning up, including people from high school environmental classes, Boeing, Honda, and elementary classes. While the club members and majority of beach volunteers focused on finding trash to pick up on the beach and finding the starfish, my parents walked up to the beach parking lot. They were surprised to see how much trash was up there, compared to the small amount of trash down at the beach. They filled their bag with trash within 10 minutes. Meanwhile, my group was still searching for trash down at the beach. We found a dinosaur toy a kid left behind and the bottom part of a shoe. Time passed by very quickly and soon it was 11:30. The club members met up at a booth to turn in our trash bags. As a thank-you for volunteering, the City of Torrance allowed us to choose one of 3 environmentally friendly gifts: a reusable metal straw with a pipe cleaner, a set of bamboo utensils, or a t-shirt that said “Save Our Beaches.” We were also given a voucher for a taco-truck lunch. During lunch, the employees from Bachem and the members from MKHS Heal the Bay were able to bond some more. We thanked them for allowing us to partner up with them for Coastal Cleanup Day.

The project made club members realize how much clean environments should be respected and maintained. I have always enjoyed participating in community cleanups, and was glad to share the experience with many of the club members. Our club would like to thank the Bachem company again for letting us work with them.

The Urban Heat Island Effect in Los Angeles by Ji Hyun Park and Ji Sun Park

In 2012, during the Creek Week program with Heal the Bay, my sister and I grew interested in the Los Angeles River and the environmental impacts of the concretion of the different sectors of the river. In the November of 2013, my sister and I researched five different sites along the Los Angeles River. These areas ranged from environmental healthy mountainous regions of the river to heavily urban-concreted areas. In conclusion to this yearlong study of the water quality of the multiple sites of the Los Angeles River, we were able to find that there was a temperature fluctuations between the two sites. The environmentally healthier areas had lower temperatures, while the urban areas of the river showed higher temperatures. This, we concluded, was the result of the Urban Heat Island effect. The Heat Island Effect is when an urban or metropolitan area is warmer than the surrounding areas.

For the last several decades, human population has shifted from rural areas to urbanized areas. This urbanization to metropolitan cities has led to a larger economy, higher convenience, and increased industry. Despite these positive impacts of urbanization, there have also been multiple negative impacts of the creation of Metropolitan cities. There has been increased heat production due to burning of fossil fuels and increased industrial and residential activities. Vegetation were reduced in order to make more room. There has also been increased heat absorbance in these Metropolitan cities as the building and paving materials absorb solar energy.

Urbanization has also shown environmental impacts. There are increases in energy consumption due to higher heat of the surrounding areas. This results in reduced air quality and increases in greenhouse gases, as power plants burn more fuel in order to cater to the energy needs of the public. This air pollution leads to acid rain and climate changes. The increased heat from urbanization can also result in health issues for humans.

All this results in what is called the Heat Island Effect. Los Angeles is definitely experiencing a Heat Island Effect. Due to this, residents of Los Angeles are suffering from health problems. There were hundreds of people who went to the emergency room due to heat-related illnesses from 2005-2010.

When compared to every city in the United States experiencing a Heat Island effect, Los Angeles is not the hottest city. However, it is notably the hottest city in the west as well as one of the cities that receives the lowest mean precipitation.

Los Angeles has taken initiatives to mitigate the Heat Island Effect. One of the ways is the use of CoolSeal to paint pavements and roads. CoolSeal is a special type of paint that reflects heat. Animals prefer walking on areas treated with CoolSeal rather than regular pavements; treated areas were 10 degrees cooler than untreated areas.

Other cities have also taken initiatives to mitigate this problem. One city initiative was the revitalization of Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon. Cheonggyecheon was a heavily polluted stream that ran in the heart of Seoul, South Korea. It was completely paved and a highway was built on top of it. The stream emitted a horrible stench and was home to millions of rats. In 2008, removing the highway rehabilitated the stream and concrete, planted greeneries, and made cold water flow properly.

The average surface temperatures of Seoul before and after the revitalization did not change. However, the average air temperature of Cheonggyecheon showed a startling drop of approximately one degree Celsius. The study showed that temperature decreased dramatically near the presence of flowing water for about fifty meters before temperature rose to the same height.

Los Angeles, like Seoul, has a river that flows in its heart. As our previous research on the LA River indicated, surface temperatures impact air temperatures. The sites with more vegetation had lower surface temperatures, resulting in cooler air temperatures, while built-up concreted areas of the river had higher surface temperatures, resulting in hotter air temperatures.

In light of this, we wished to present a suggestion on the ways Los Angeles could mitigate the Heat Island Effect. We would like to suggest the revitalization of the Los Angeles River, which would cool down the surrounding areas and give a safe, environmentally friendly place for its citizens. Another was lining the streets with small canals like Germany’s Freiburg Bächle (Gutters) and South Korea’s Jeonju/Gwanghwamun Mulgil (Water Path). Doing so would enlarge the reach of the water path, cooling down the entire city rather than the area of the stream.

If you would like to learn more, please check out Ji Hyun Park and Ji Sun Park’s full project:

Heat Island PowerPoint

The Urban Heat Island Effect (Full)


PVHS Cleans Torrance Beach!

On March 24, 2018, PVHS Heal the Bay set out to clean up Torrance Beach. We had 25
members show up to help out. We started at 10 a.m. and continued until noon. We sent people out in pairs

and groups of three. We collected 1,739 pieces of trash. Out of these 1,739 pieces, 203 were plastic wrappers, 667 were miscellaneous pieces of plastic, 271 were styrofoam pieces, and 113 were cigarette butts. We found all of this trash in the bushes, along the

bike path, in the parking lot, by the water, and everywhere in between.

On April 28, 2018, a nice, clear, warm Saturday, PVHS Heal the Bay put on its own
beach clean up at Torrance Beach. The clean up started at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 12:00 p.m. We searched for trash in the bushes, in the sand, by the bike path, and by the water, travelling up and down the coast. We had 25 high school students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, participate in picking up trash all along Torrance Beach. We picked up things like plastic and glass bottles, plastic straws, cigarette butts, cardboard, and so much more, including 242 miscellaneous plastic pieces.

MKHS Heal the Bay Cleans Santa Monica Beach for Earth Day

On Earth Day, our club MKHS Heal the Bay, along with other volunteers, set off to clean Santa Monica Beach. We arrived twenty minutes before the clean up began and lined up to get registered. After registering, we met with one of the Heal the Bay members to discuss safety and ground rules for the cleanup.

Once all of us had gloves, buckets and the checklist to keep track of the different types of items we would find, we were ready to go. The seven of us set out into two groups to start collecting the trash. Within the first 10 minutes, we were able to collect a few pieces of plastic as well as some bits of glass. We had even found a few zippers lying around the sand. While walking, we collected shredded pieces of styrofoam and some bottle caps. Eventually, we encountered one of the storm drains that the members had discussed about before. While the water was not high enough to connect to the drain water, it did form a small pond full of dirty water. When taking a closer look, we could find a lot of plastics, glass, and other pieces of trash lying around. We were able to collect them before heading back. Every piece of plastic, glass, or trash we found, we marked it down on the checklist. By the time we got back to starting point, we found over 50 pieces of plastics and at least 3 pieces of glass as well as a significant amount of miscellaneous materials. The other group’s data was similar to what we found. After handing the checklists over, we sorted the different materials and recyclables.

Once in a while, we took a break while walking along the shoreline. Because we were wearing closed-toe shoes to protect our feet, we had to occasionally dart away from incoming waves to avoid getting them wet. Not only was it relaxing during the small break, but it also allowed us to appreciate the scenery as well.

Considering the sizes of the items we found, it was quite difficult trying to pick them up with the cloth gloves. Luckily, our members brought in regular vinyl gloves to pick up the smaller bits. Plus, some of them had even brought their own plastic grabbers to reach for the more difficult items.

While crouching near the ground to search for clutter lying around was not the best experience, the end result of being able to even collect small amount of trash from the environment made it worth it. Being able to spend a nice day out on the beach doing and helping clean up the environment leaves a good feeling.

Mark Keppel High School Heal the Bay Club Tabling Event!

MKHS Heal the Bay club participated in a tabling event on April 21, 2018. This tabling was part of Monterey Park’s Earth Day celebration. Volunteers from Mark Keppel High’s Heal the Bay club helped spread the word about Heal the Bay and their mission to the residents of Monterey Park. Their booth had a game with Heal the Bay prizes and flyers promoting current Heal the Bay campaigns such as Strawless Summer. In the game, participants had to categorize trash, represented by the

tennis balls(the names of the trash were written in marker on the ball), into four disposal boxes marked “E-Waste, Toxic, Recyclable, and Trash that should not be in the Ocean.” If the participant was able to make at least three “trash” tennis balls into the correct box(es), they were able to receive a Heal the Bay sticker, Heal the Bay bookmarks, candy, or an adorable Seal card with information about Heal the Bay on its back. For example, there was a tennis ball labeled “plastic”, and the participant would identify it as a recyclable and make it into the “Recyclable ” bin or “Trash that should no

t be in the Ocean”. The category marked “Trash that should not be in the Ocean” was a trick question because all trash thrown into that box would be valid. The project began about 6 months before Earth Day to contact the city of Monterey Park’s representatives to ask for a table at the Earth Day festival. Other environmental clubs at Mark Keppel were also collaborating for this event, so communication was key. While that was happening, the game had to be planned. A game would entice participants to come visit the booth and would be a fun way to promote the club and Heal the Bay. Lastly, the materials for the tabling event were sent by mail, tabling shifts were filled by MKHS Heal the Bay club members, and the tabling event was ready!

Strangely, a lot of participants did not realize that all the tennis balls could go in the box “Trash that should not be in the Ocean.” When volunteers told participants of this, the participants laughed at themselves for not noticing this. Some members also showed off their hand-eye coordination while playing the tossing game. One visitor who worked for the LA sanitation department shared his gratitude for our efforts and Heal the Bay’s programs. Club members and participants learned about our effects of pollution and responsible waste disposal. Club members also worked on their social and public speaking skills while talking to participants. Hopefully this tabling event will spark more eco-friendly action in Monterey Park and encourage residents to come to one of Heal the Bay’s beach cleanups. This project was a new and beneficial experience for many club members. We would definitely join another Ecosummit organization again.


Hello Everyone!

My name is Danielle Furuichi and I am the new Programs Coordinator at Heal the Bay. It makes me so happy to see your commitment and enthusiasm for protecting and advocating 

for the ocean. I met some of you at our Chasing Coral event, and I am looking forward to working with all of you on your projects and sharing your passion for the environment! 

A little bit about me: Growing up near the beach, I have always loved the ocean and been fascinated by all of its inhabitants. I always spent my weekends at the beach, and I missed the ocean like crazy while I went to school in the Midwest. After graduating from Indiana University in 2016, I traveled all around Europe and then finally returned home to Los Angeles. I became a teacher and began volunteering at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. From there, I connected with Heal the Bay, and I could not be more excited to work with all of you! On the weekends, you can catch me rock climbing, hiking, and surfing–or at least attempting to surf.  


This Saturday (4/28) is the City Nature Challenge: Malibu Lagoon Bioblitz!! The City Nature Challenge is all about competing with other major cities to see who can make the most observations of nature and find the most species. This is an awesome chance to meet people, learn about our environment, AND earn Club Drops!  You can register and learn more about this event on Eventbrite:

– Danielle (:

Marlborough and Loyola High School CHB Adopts Dockweiler Beach

Marlborough and Loyola’s Heal the Bay clubs teamed up to adopt Dockweiler Beach at Imperial Highway on March 11th, 18th, and 25th.

Our first cleanup day was on a rainy day, but we pushed through and picked up as much trash as we could. As expected, we mostly found plastic wrappers, plastic pieces, and styrofoam pieces. Our second day and third days were warm and dry, and we got a lot more done as shown in our data. We experienced the similar trend of picking up a host of plastic wrappers, plastic pieces, and styrofoam pieces. We even found a dead chicken and multiple scattered bones! However, we also saw bundles of feathers tangled up in nets or other trash, showing us trash’s danger to wildlife.

What upset our members the most was the amount of styrofoam we found. Although we picked up hundreds of items such as plastic pieces and plastic wrappers, styrofoam pieces by far exceeded any other item! The styrofoam we found ranged from the tiniest of pieces to bowls and large fast-food cups. We had a grand total of 1,369 styrofoam pieces! It was also disturbing how many cigarette butts we found, and didn’t expect to find so many. At the end of all of our cleanups, we had found a total of 271 cigarette butts.

We are so grateful for our club members, who woke up early to help make Dockweiler a cleaner place! Because they put in the time and effort, they feel that adopting Dockweiler Beach was a rewarding experience and made them want to take future action in further protecting our beaches!

(PS from Halina: Be sure to check out their graph that they created from Heal the Bay’s Marine Debris Database in the slideshow! The graph sums up all the trash types they accumulated over their three cleanups.)


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