Almost 50 Harker community members joined more than 73,000 volunteers in late September on the California coast for the 26th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day (CCCD), hosted by the California Coastal Commission.
Inspired by this year’s lower school theme of compassion, parent volunteer Kelly Lewis Brezoczky (Emma, grade 5; Charlotte, grade 3) suggested that Harker participate in the coastal clean-up. “This fits in with compassion for others,” said Joe Connolly, lower school dean of students, noting the importance of instilling a sense of service among the students.
CCCD is part of a larger grassroots movement, the International Coastal Cleanup, and was only one of 100 countries that dedicated Sept. 25 to removing millions of pounds of trash from beaches and waterways.
Brezoczky coordinated Harker’s participation through the Marine Science Institute in Redwood City, and service and spirit club advisor Katie Molin invited grade 4 and 5 families to help pick up debris littered across Pillar Point and Pilarcitos Creek in Half Moon Bay.
Families walked along the shoreline and collected aluminum cans, cigarette butts and pieces of broken glass. The Ocean Conservancy, one of the event’s many sponsors, awarded Molin’s daughter Naomi, grade 7, with a T-shirt for finding the most unusual piece of litter in the area – a large plastic net.
“The students were excited to be helping the environment by collecting candy wrappers and other paper trash, as well as by finding an old tent and two shopping carts in the creek,” Molin said. “There seems to be a lot of student interest at the lower school in helping with such projects, so I’m sure that a future event would be equally well-attended and successful.”
Brezoczky said that working at Pilarcitos Creek for the second half of the morning gave students a chance to see how trash makes its way to the ocean. “The students got so excited when they found so much trash in the creek that they wanted to go back and continue cleaning up after we finished!” she said.