Storm Drain Rangers Take Center Stage at Rosa Parks Elementary School
The Storm Drain Rangers Program is funded by the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program
By Laurel Sebastian, Lead Program Manager
Kaelin, a third grader in Berkeley, couldn’t believe her ears when she learned that over seven trillion pieces of microplastic enter the San Francisco bay every year! She had just learned that pollution enters the bay through storm drains and the sewer system, but it was hard for her to wrap her mind around how much it is! She knew she had to do something — and she wasn’t alone.
Kaelin’s classmates at Rosa Parks Elementary in Berkeley all participated in the KIDS for the BAY Storm Drain Rangers Program, and learned about common sources of pollution to the San Francisco Bay watershed. Empowered by their new knowledge, the students decided that they wanted to share their environmental concerns and the solutions with their whole school in a Schoolwide Assembly.
KIDS for the BAY Instructor Laurel Sebastian visited the class to help the students rehearse for their Assembly. Ms. Laurel also guided the students in building a clay model of the bay, experimenting with how fresh and saltwater mix in the estuary, identifying types of pollution and conducting a trash clean-up around their school’s neighborhood. After these hands-on lessons, the students were ready to take action and share their new knowledge with their school.
Donning turtle and whale costumes, the student actors were eager to share about the threat of plastic pollution to marine animals. After the rehearsal, teacher Ms. Rosa Moreno told her students, “We need to take pride in this opportunity to share what we’ve learned about the environment. We’ll keep practicing until we get it just right!”
On the morning of the Assembly, the auditorium was filled with students from all grade levels and supportive parents who eagerly grabbed their chairs to get a good view of the stage. Parents clapped excitedly for their children as Ms. Moreno’s class filed in with their props and costumes.
Minutes later, the Assembly had begun, and all eyes were on the stage. Kaelin proudly announced, “When I say ‘Storm Drain Rangers’, you say ‘Yes we are!’ Storm Drain Rangers.” A loud “Yes we are!” rang out across the auditorium in response. Kaelin then took her seat at the news anchor desk and began the show.
Every line was well -rehearsed as the students taught their peers about storm drains draining to creeks, animals hurt by pollution, and how everyone can make a difference through litter clean ups and using the Five Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, Refuse). The crowd fiercely shouted “No!” when Special Reporter Leon held up a plastic bag and asked the crowd, “Is this food for a turtle?” With their eyes glued to the stage, the student audience was enthusiastic to learn about the impact of plastic pollution in our bay and ocean. When the final student actor asked if his peers would join the class in cleaning up their environment, another loud “Yes!” resounded across the room.
After the show, Ms. Moreno asked for a group hug and the whole class rushed to her side. It was the perfect way to end the fall semester and welcome winter break. Parents made their way onto the stage to congratulate their students. One parent said, “I didn’t know that storm drain water doesn’t get cleaned. You did such a great job sharing what you learned.”
Kaelin and her classmates were so proud of their hard work! Everyone was ready to keep making changes and keep teaching friends and family how to lead more environmentally friendly lives! After the play, each student wrote down a personal environmental pledge and added it as a leaf on a Pledge Tree for the class to see and share all year.