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.
Venice High School students at Venice Beach
Author: Claire Combredet
The club leaders, including myself, first arrived around 9:45 am at Venice Beach for our local cleanup. We organized the tables near the Venice Pier and brought gloves, buckets, water, and snacks for our members. We made a sign-in sheet for the members to mark the number of hours they worked, so we could later assign community service hours. Our members arrived little by little, signed in, and were given gloves and buckets. They then set out to clean the beach and the leaders took turns supervising the tables and equipment, and joining the other members for the cleanup. After a couple of hours, everyone returned to the tables for snacks and water and chatted. Around 2pm, we packed up the equipment and left the cleanup site.
Bucket in hand, ready to keep the beaches clean!
At one point, myself and another leader, my friend Haley, headed out on the beach for our cleanup shift, and met up with a club member, Jack. He pointed out that he had found a drenched sock near the shoreline, which was quite interesting – not exactly in its natural habitat!
This cleanup was great, as always, because we were able to see our members in action, being proactive community members, which is a notion that is implied as a Heal the Bay member. In efforts to reduce our global impact, we have reused our buckets year after year, and hope to get more supplies to support future cleanups with the club. It would be amazing to to provide our members with the best possible equipment to show that we truly care about them and are thankful for their deeds. The project today made our club members feel like they were contributing to something positive and beneficial in their community, and were being proactive with their Saturday morning.
Follow Venice High School Heal the Bay club on instagram for more pictures from their events! @venicehealthebay
Members of Mark Keppel High School’s Heal the Bay Club
MKHS Campus Cleanup – 9.16.2017
Author: Valerie Dao
On September 16, 2017, the Heal the Bay club of Mark Keppel High School held a campus cleanup at their school’s track field. The event started at 9 am and lasted about one hour and five minutes. There were 31 participants. The board members split up the event participants into groups of 4-5. These groups then dispersed throughout the track area, cleaning up the field and taking note of the type of trash they collected.
Taking a break from cleaning trash to pose for a photo!
Some of the unusual trash items they found were a baseball, a football, a plunger, and a whole pie in its pie tin. The participants were surprised to find out how much trash they had collected, as the track field did not seem to have that much trash at first glance when the cleanup started. By the end of the event, the Heal the Bay cleanup group had collected about eight full bags of trash and half a box of glass. The club calculated, using the Clean Swell app, that 192.93 pounds of trash were collected.
An interesting find during the cleanup!
Most of the trash that was collected were paper trash, food wrappers, plastic bags, and miscellaneous plastic/foam pieces. The event ended with tired participants having satisfaction to have prevented all of this trash to be going elsewhere. Volunteers were provided with snacks and cold bottles of water, which they happily enjoyed.
This was Heal the Bay club’s first event, and the board members and advisor were very glad about the outcome of the event. They hope to continue having events like this one in the future.
Nature’s Own Club organized an awesome Earth Day celebration at Luskin Academy.
Earth Day Celebration at Luskin Academy
By: Diana Juarez of Luskin Academy’s Nature’s Own Club
Earth Day is a significant day because it’s one where people bring awareness to the many environmental issues around the world. Nature’s Own Club celebrated this special day because they knew how much it would help Luskin Academy become eco-friendlier.
The Earth Day Celebration at Luskin Academy consisted of many hands-on activities. The members of Nature’s Own were in charge of managing everything – they even created games for the students. Activities included “Trash Dash” and edible terrarium models.
Students painting pots and planters.
“Trash Dash” is a game where students have a minute to sort as much trash as possible. The contestant with the most trash sorted at the end received a prize. Students learned about the necessity of a clean environment and that they could have fun while doing it.
Another activity was an edible terrarium model which was made out of crushed Oreos, pudding, edible grass and chocolate rocks. Many of the students wanted to make actual terrariums because of how beautiful they looked. Some of the students created art out of trash, such as pigs and dragons. This is another way to recycle – it shows how you can reuse anything or even use it as decorations. At the end of the day, students were given the chance to participate in a raffle for a Venus flytrap.
As people participated at the event they had huge smiles and laughed. It is safe to say that Earth Day at Luskin Academy was a success.
Face painting was another huge hit.
Pilgrim School Takes on the Bag Monster at the Youth Summit
Pilgrim School Gets to Know Heal the Bay this Fall
By: Mek Worate
Students at Pilgrim School have really jumped into service learning this school year! As Mek Worate explains, from cleanups to campaigning for Prop 67, Pilgrim School have become blue-star healers of the bay. Continue reading
Water Fountain Audit at Santa Monica High School
By Hannah Persinko, of Team Marine
As California faced a record breaking drought, water resources became a hot topic. Santa Monica High School’s Team Marine wanted to investigate the availability of fountain water for their students on campus. Continue reading
Jisun Park planned and executed a yearlong water-quality research project the LA River.
From the Mountains to the City:
Los Angeles River Environmental Conditions, Water Quality, and Biodiversity
By Jisun Park, President of the Crean Lutheran Heal the Bay Club
Water in LA, Then and Now
The Los Angeles River has had a long, symbiotic relationship with humans, dating as far back as the establishment of the Gabrielino Indians to the settlement of early Spanish explorers. Continue reading