Student Environmentalists Lead Neighborhood Trash Cleanup Projects!
By: Jamie Ball
Did you know that 60-80% of marine debris is harmful plastic pollution? How does pollution get all the way from our neighborhoods into the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean? Eager students from Dover Elementary, St. Paul, and Helms Middle Schools in San Pablo learned all about how pollution gets into the bay, why that pollution is harmful to our environment, and how they could participate in this year’s Annual Wildcat Creek Cleanup during their KIDS for the BAY (KftB) distance learning Zoom lessons.
So, how does pollution get from our neighborhoods to the San Francisco Bay? Brianna, a second grader from St. Paul explained, “Trash gets into our environment through storm drains and goes to the bay from the rivers!” Isabella added, “There’s a storm drain near my house and there’s always lots of trash in it, which makes me sad.” Students also learned how pollution in the environment is harmful for humans and the organisms we share our environment with. They were thrilled to learn how to take action and help make their environment healthier. Dover Elementary kindergartener Araceli said it best: “We want our neighborhood to be clean and shiny!”
Many students were excited to participate in the Wildcat Creek Cleanup event this year. “I helped clean up at Davis Park last year! We got so much trash out of the creek,” shared Mateo from Dover Elementary. Alvina asked, “Can I invite my family members to help do the cleanup?” Students from all classes were eager to make a difference and help clean up their neighborhoods and parks. KIDS for the BAY Instructors were thrilled with the students’ enthusiasm and leadership!
Back in 1993, KIDS for the BAY Dover Elementary School students decided they wanted to make a difference in their community and clean up the trash in their local Wildcat Creek. After writing letters to the City of San Pablo about the harmful effects of pollution on the environment, the City partnered with KIDS for the BAY to host the first ever Wildcat Creek Cleanup! This year, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we were still able to celebrate our 26th Anniversary of the cleanup on a small scale with a big impact, by encouraging students and their families to conduct neighborhood cleanups in small ‘quaran-teams’. The event proved to be a great success, with 12 students leading their own neighborhood cleanups with their families and collecting approximately 100 pounds of trash!
We are so proud of our young Environmentalists for taking on leadership roles, cleaning up the Wildcat Creek watershed and teaching their families and friends about the importance of environmental stewardship!