Press release, Friends of the Dunes
After a year in which distance learning became standard in California’s schools, hundreds of elementary students from cities across California will be joining together virtually to send a message to the ocean, as the culmination of the 27th Annual Kids Ocean Day Program. Due to the pandemic, the annual program 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. On June 8th (World Ocean Day), the students are gathering together symbolically through a collective art project that communicates what the ocean means to all of us.
“Kids Ocean Day 2021 is different from past years but is still very impactful,” 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, together they are making a powerful statement about their shared commitment to care for California’s beaches and the Pacific Ocean.”
Each art entry is included as an individual image in a giant online mosaic. The statewide first-place winning artwork is the main image of the mosaic. Contest winners and their teachers received gift cards and other prizes. Liana S., a 7th grader from McKinleyville, won first place for Humboldt County and second place statewide with her needlepoint, Diversity of Animals.
Here in Humboldt, students were also encouraged to participate in Friends of the Dunes’ Trash Tracker Challenge. They used the entire month of May to collect litter and, with the help of the Northcoast Environmental Center, log it in the Marine Debris Tracker app. “Whether you are on a neighborhood walk or in the forest, picking up trash is an important act of stewardship for our local watershed. It is just as important as picking up trash on the beach,” said Emily Baxter, Education Coordinator for Friends of the Dunes.The students who logged the most trash will receive a prize bag of low waste eco-friendly items.
To see their artwork and the 2021 Kids Ocean Day Picture Mosaic and animation video, visit www.friendsofthedunes.org/oceanday.