Students taking AP Environmental Science traveled to Santa Monica Beach Oct. 19 to participate in a beach cleanup organized by Heal the Bay, an environmental non-profit organization.
“All kinds of trash ended up on the beach because of the drainage system,” Bennett Markinson ’21 said. “Plastic gets broken into small pieces so animals think they can eat it, but because plastic doesn’t decompose, it is horrible for them.”
AP Environmental students learn about microplastics at the beach
Students used a data analysis sheet to track what types of trash were being collected, and how this compared to recent years. These data collections are usually presented to lawmakers in order to persuade them to pass laws protecting the environment.
AP Environmental Science Teacher Nadine Eisenkolb said students who participated in the event are able to feel like they contributed to helping the environment become cleaner.
“I think we get inundated with bad news about the state of the environment and that this can make us feel hopeless and very small, like nothing that we do matters,” Eisenkolb said. “Going to a beach cleanup can change this feeling because it makes us see that we can do something to heal nature.”
Natalie Philips ’21 said teaming up with Heal the Bay was important since she spends a lot of her time at the beach.
“I was so happy to partake in this event because whenever I go to the beach I love seeing sand and water rather than sand, trash and water,” Philips said.
Students participate in cleanup and advocate for improved environmental conditions
After the beach cleanup, a few students went to an ocean planet conference and were able to learn more about ocean conservation and raising awareness about ocean protection.
Markinson said he was happily surprised by the turnout of people who participated in the event.
“So many people showed up to help, which I didn’t expect,” Markinson said. “To be able to see the whole community lined up along the beach cleaning was really cool.”