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1,000 Students and Volunteers Braved the Rain to Protect the Environment They Love

San Diego County CA—  I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) empowered more than 1,000 elementary school students, teachers, and volunteers to protect what they love at Mission Beach for the 26th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day, on Thursday. Powering through the rain, students and volunteers channeled their appreciation for our ocean into action. With a litter cleanup along Mission Beach and Bay, students and volunteers significantly improved the health and beauty of San Diego’s natural environment, preventing debris from entering the ocean, where it can be mistaken for food and ingested by marine wildlife. After the cleanup, the group formed an aerial art image of a California sea lion and the words “PROTECT WHAT YOU LOVE.”

All students who participated in Kids’ Ocean Day attend Title 1 schools throughout San Diego County.  For 57 of the nearly 800 students, this event was their first beach experience ever. In the weeks leading up to Kids’ Ocean Day, ILACSD educators led assemblies at each of the participating schools – Central Elementary (National City), Ericson Elementary, Fay Elementary, Florence Elementary, Foster Elementary, Joyner Elementary, Los Peñasquitos Elementary, Mission Elementary, and San Marcos Elementary – where students learned how their actions can impact the environment.

The event culminated with the creation of a piece of living art – an aerial art image that spelled out “PROTECT WHAT YOU LOVE” along South Mission Beach. This powerful image is a call for San Diegans to take action on behalf of our oceans and the sensitive wildlife that call it home. There are already more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans, and it’s estimated by 2050, virtually every seabird species on the planet will be eating plastic. The “PROTECT WHAT YOU LOVE” message serves as a reminder to us all that we each play a crucial role in taking care of our beloved coastline, ocean, and marine wildlife from the harms of litter and pollution.

“It’s natural for us to protect what we love, like our families and our homes,” said Jack Ainsworth, Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission.  “These kids are showing the ocean some love and appreciation and encouraging us to follow their lead. They understand that our home doesn’t end at our doorstep and that we also need to tend to our wider home—the environment where we all live—since we depend on the ocean being healthy, and the ocean depends on us to keep it that way.”

Kids’ Ocean Day was made possible through the generous support of many partners, including California’s Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail grant program and the Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund, TEGNA Foundation, Cox Communications, Bumble Bee Seafoods, Wells Fargo, CRC CARES, Epsilon, Bumbleride, Einstein Bagels, and Outside the Lens.

Kids’ Ocean Day is one of hundreds of cleanups hosted by ILACSD annually. In 2018, ILACSD mobilized more than 34,000 volunteers who removed over 350,000 pounds of debris from San Diego County. Join ILACSD for their next cleanup this Saturday, May 18 at Adobe Falls. For more information about how to get involved, visit CleanSD.org.

About I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD)

As San Diego’s most influential advocate for sustainability, I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) is an environmental catalyst, awakening passion and inspiring action, empowering everyone to improve the health and beauty of our local environment. For 65 years, we’ve brought the best in all of us together for a lasting, positive impact on our region. We are passion in action. For more information, to volunteer or donate, visit CleanSD.org  or call (619) 291-0103. Connect with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.