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1,200 OC Students Create Giant Aerial Artwork for Kids Ocean Day in Huntington Beach

On May 23, 2023, over 1,200 students from 15 Orange County elementary schools met in Huntington Beach to celebrate Kids Ocean Day, a statewide celebration and day of action for our oceans. For 150 of these kids, this was their first-ever time at a beach.

The students, led by Orange County Coastkeeper, removed 188 pounds of trash from the beach in the morning. After the beach cleanup, the students formed a massive human aerial art message asking polluters to “Give Us A Chance.”

Kids Ocean Day is an annual event that reaches students from communities vulnerable to environmental pollutants and facing disproportionate systemic barriers to coastal access. This annual event educates the next generation of ocean advocates and empowers them to value and protect our environment.

“During the Kids Ocean Day assembly, our students learned how our storm drains can take trash from our school in Garden Grove to the county’s beaches. This inspired our class and grade level to begin weekly trash hunts to help keep our school and community clean,” said Andrea McKeever, a 3rd-grade teacher at Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School. “We want our students to see the direct connection between picking up trash and reducing marine debris. We want to be part of the solution and not a part of the pollution!”

The participating students come from schools in Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Anaheim, and Fullerton. Each student receives a printed photo of the aerial art to commemorate their experience.

Orange County Coastkeeper, a local water conservation organization, organizes the event with support from the California Coastal Commission. Five different coastal counties participate in Kids Ocean Day throughout May and June. This year’s artwork theme is “Give Nature a Chance.”

“Kids Ocean Day is all about fostering meaningful connections with our coast while taking action on the issue at hand. In designing the art, it was important for us to include our students in our interpretation of ‘Give Nature a Chance.’” said Michaela Coats, education director at Orange County Coastkeeper. “We know that nature is resilient if we give it the opportunity to recover, but we also have to give our youth a chance which means empowering them to be a part of the solutions.”

Kids Ocean Day is one of the many ways that Orange County Coastkeeper protects clean water and promotes watershed resilience for our community. For more information on their education, advocacy, restoration, enforcement, and research programs, visit coastkeeper.org.

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ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY COASTKEEPER: The mission of Orange County Coastkeeper is to protect swimmable, drinkable, fishable water and promote watershed resilience throughout our region. Coastkeeper works collaboratively with diverse groups in the public and private sectors to achieve healthy, accessible, and sustainable water resources for the region. We implement innovative, effective programs in education, advocacy, restoration, research, and enforcement. For more information, visit www.coastkeeper.org or call 714-850-1965.