Local Students Defend the Sea at Kids Ocean Day 2012

Many people will look at this picture and squint at it thinking, what is that?

“Are those rocks?” is a common question we’ve heard since releasing this picture after last week’s Kids Ocean Day. The design is definitely not made of rocks, or shells, or even trash from a cleanup. This amazing image is a piece of living art made up of over 1000 people. Yep, those are local San Diego students, parents, volunteers and the ILACSD staff sitting on the sand at Crown Point Shores sending a message to the rest of San Diego to ‘Defend the Sea.’

Kids Ocean Day is how we here at I Love A Clean San Diego get kids involved in celebrating World Oceans Day each year. This amazing work of art started as just an idea a few months ago, and was brought to life by ILACSD’s Environmental Educator, Alex Mullen-Ley and Education Coordinator, Samantha. Our staff were up before the sun last Thursday, mapping out and drawing Alex’s design in the sand.

As the buses began arriving, 3rd-5th grade students from 8 local schools started the day by cleaning up the beach, finding cigarette butts, beverage containers and small pieces of plastic.

The excitement started to build as we began lining the students up to file into the aerial art and the news helicopter started circling overhead. It was amazing to watch our octopus come to life piece by piece as the students and volunteers started to fill in the lines of the image. Most of the kids had never been a part of anything like this and were very excited to find their place in the sand.

Last but not least, the I Love A Clean San Diego staff sat down to form the eye of the octopus.

The second helicopter arrived, carrying our friend and photographer Rachel Lebowitz from Outside the Lens, another local nonprofit that teaches youth to use digital media to create change within themselves and their community. We were so impressed at how well behaved the students were as we waited for word from Rachel that she’d gotten the perfect shot!

Kids Ocean Day was coordinated in 5 cities in California, all using the theme ‘Defend the Sea’ in their designs. Click here to visit the Ocean Day website and see all of the amazing aerial art images!

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