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San Diego County Students Help Send Statewide Message for the Ocean as Part of the 27th Annual Kids Ocean

In honor of World Oceans Day, artwork by students from Ericson and Central Elementary Schools place top five in state as a group and are selected to be part of international mosaic

San Diego County CA— I Love A Clean San Diego County announces the finalists of this year’s local contributions to the 27th Annual Kids Ocean Day statewide art mosaic (video), honoring World Ocean Day. Artwork by students from Ericson and Central Elementary was selected to advance to the statewide level. This artwork, including others across California, are part of the international message.

The annual event shifted to live online presentations this year to help students learn about watersheds and how they are personally connected to their watershed and the ocean. Through Kids Ocean Day 2021, I Love A Clean San Diego taught 517 elementary students across the county, from Oceanside to National City. Over 4,300 students were involved statewide. Today (World Oceans Day), the students are gathering together symbolically through a collective art project that communicates what the ocean means to all of us and the ever increasing need to protect it from pollution and marine debris, which starts on land.

“Plastic and other forms of pollution are literally killing our oceans, so we are at critical point in our history when it comes to awareness, protection and reducing our waste,” said Emily Nelson, Education Manager at I Love A Clean San Diego. “The students who participated in this year’s project understand this urgency and there are no better messengers than the next generation.”

In a typical year, Kids Ocean Day coordinators in five cities along the California coast would host in-school presentations, which would be followed by a beach cleanup, and culminate with the students forming a work of aerial art (photographed from above) to help send a message about the need for clean beaches.

This year, students who attended an online classroom presentation were encouraged to create an original artwork illustrating what they love about the ocean, for submission to the 2021 Kids Ocean Day Art Contest.

“Kids Ocean Day 2021 is different from past years but still has impact,” said Chris Parry, Public Education Program with the California Coastal Commission. “With each student’s ocean-themed artwork forming part of a collective art project, they are participating in a powerful statement that demonstrates their shared commitment to care for California’s beaches and the Pacific Ocean.”

Every art entry received is included as an individual image in a giant online mosaic. The statewide winning artwork is the main image used to populate the mosaic.

The San Diego finalists that advanced to the statewide art contest are (link to images):

1st Place

  • Student: Lyra F.
  • School: Ericson Elementary (San Diego)
  • Grade: 4th
  • Teacher:  Kisha Deleon
  • Caption: My artwork shows how pollution is hurting animals not just turtles. Turtles eat trash bags thinking they are jellyfish and string wraps around their necks. Help save the turtles

2nd Place

  • Student: Dominick M.
  • School: Central Elementary (National City)
  • Grade: 3rd
  • Teacher:  Danielle Abrams

3rd Place

  • Student: Catherine
  • School: Ericson Elementary (San Diego)
  • Grade: 4th
  • Teacher:  Kisha Deleon
  • Caption: Let the animals be free and be healthy. Let them live their lives. Don’t litter.

Honorable Mention

  • Student: Kali M.
  • School: Central Elementary (National City)
  • Grade: 3rd
  • Teacher:  Danielle Abrams

Honorable Mention

  • Student: Melanie S.
  • School: Central Elementary (National City)
  • Grade: 3rd
  • Teacher:  Danielle Abrams

Contest winners and their teachers received gift cards and other prizes.

“While we have not been able to gather students for in-person school assemblies or a beach cleanup this year, our mission to educate young people continues,” said Michael Klubock, founder of the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education and the annual Kids Ocean Day event. “We are thankful we can still get the message out to elementary students online that they have the power to make a positive difference every day in keeping our environment clean.”

Organizers for the Kids Ocean Day event include Friends of the Dunes (Humboldt County); the Marine Science Institute (San Francisco and San Mateo Counties); the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education with support from LA Sanitation and Environment, Watershed Protection Program (Los Angeles County); Orange County Coastkeeper (Orange County); and I Love A Clean San Diego (San Diego County). The statewide program is sponsored by the California Coastal Commission and its Whale Tail® Grants Program.

“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.”


About I Love A Clean San Diego County

Founded in 1954, I Love A Clean San Diego is an environmental nonprofit supporting residents and businesses of San Diego County through youth and adult education, and local action through impactful volunteer events and workshops. As San Diego’s most influential advocate for sustainability, I Love A Clean San Diego’s programs are an environmental catalyst, awakening passion and inspiring action to empower everyone to be leaders in conservation and waste-free living. Our community is passion in action to maintain and improve the health of the home we love. For more information, to volunteer or donate, visit CleanSD.org or call (619) 291-0103. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn

About the California Coastal Commission

The California Coastal Commission is committed to protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations. It does so through careful planning and regulation of environmentally sustainable development, strong public participation, education, and effective intergovernmental coordination.

The Kids Ocean Day program is part of the Commission’s effort to raise public awareness of marine and coastal resources and promote coastal stewardship. For more information about the Commission’s programs and how to buy a Whale Tail License Plate, visit www.coastforyou.org.

About Kids Ocean Day

Kids Ocean Day was started in 1994 in Los Angeles County, by the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education. With support from the California Coastal Commission, the program expanded over the years to other regions of the state and now takes place in Humboldt, San Francisco, Orange County, and San Diego.  The Adopt-A-Beach School Assembly has been presented to over 750,000 children and nearly 167,000 have participated in Kid’s Ocean Day events over the years, statewide. For more information, please visit http://oceanday.net/about.html

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