Archive for the 'Education' Category

Meet Katie & Alaine – Our New Education Specialists!

Meet Katie & Alaine – Our New Education Specialists!

Hi, everyone! My name is Alaine, and I’m one of the newest Education Specialist at I Love A Clean San Diego!alaine1

I received my degree in Marine Science with a minor in Political Science from the University of San Diego and, within a year of graduating, found that marine and environmental education was the route for me. I quickly realized the joy and fulfillment of inspiring others to learn about their environment and be mindful of the power of their decisions. After working with the education teams at Disney Animal Programs and the San Diego Zoo, I wanted to gain experience in the non-profit world and, as an action-driven organization that shares my values, I knew I Love A Clean San Diego would be a great fit! Since joining ILACSD in mid-March, I have learned so much about everything that goes into creating and implementing successful presentations, programs, and events that help to fulfill our mission of actively conserving the environment.alaine2

Rooted in my work is an underlying passion to understand and spread awareness about our reliance on and connection with our oceans. My love for the ocean began pretty early in my life and has always served as a constant theme in my career. This passion was catapulted in 7th grade when I visited family in Baja California Sur and went diving with whale sharks. Observing and sharing an environment with these giant, incredible animals had an immensely profound impact on me. Even now, more than a decade later, I consider that to be one of the most defining moments of my career and life. My hope as an educator is to ignite that same spark in the students I interact with on a daily basis.alaine3

My favorite part about working with I Love A Clean San Diego is the opportunity to connect San Diegans, particularly youth and Spanish speakers, with the beautiful natural environment we are fortunate enough to live amongst. It is so rewarding to see the burst of interest students have when they are connected with nature, introduced to new topics, or realize that small changes they make can have a huge combined impact. ILACSD truly is passion in action, and I get to see that come to life every day. I cannot wait to be a part of the various events we have coming up this year and continue to empower individuals to improve the health and beauty of our San Diego!alaine4


 

Hi there, my name is Katie and I am one of the newest educators here at I Love A Clean San Diego.katie1

I am excited to work with ILACSD to help educate and inspire San Diego County in taking steps to being the most environmentally engaged community we have been to date. My love for the natural environment has been constantly reinforced by a variety of factors in my life; hailing from a small farm town and exploring the natural world in my backyard, from backpacking and camping in National Parks, to relocating near the rhythm of the ocean, I truly feel how grounding and important nature is to the human psyche.katie2

While obtaining my bachelor’s degree at USD, I completed two senior internships, one at the Museum of Man in Balboa Park and one with a local environmental nonprofit. In tandem with my schooling, both internships gave me increasingly important professional skills that began to open my mind to what career avenue I wanted to take. With that clarity, I found my passion at the intersection of people and the environment. I am a lover of culture and humanity, but recognize the environmental uncertainty we face on this beautiful planet we call home. So I’ve pursued a career in environmental education.

One environmental topic I am particularly passionate about is zero waste – a philosophy that mimics natural cycles in eliminating waste by recapturing resources. I firmly believe in being a conscious consumer and understanding how products are created, packaged, and processed from start to finish. Treading lightly has always been a goal of mine by refusing single-use items, purchasing less packaged foods (I’m currently snacking on trail mix from the bulk section housed in an old glass PB jar!), taking the time to understand how to properly dispose of items, and simply slowing down.

My passion for adopting a zero waste lifestyle stems from a job I held in college as an ocean kayak guide in La Jolla. Spending my days in the “office,” I began to see how much pollution and plastic is floating out there. Our own backyard, in beautiful Southern California where the world-renowned Scripps Research Institute is located, where a Marine Protected Area is designated, where we choose to relax and swim, is spoiled by us. I once heard a sobering comment about humanity and our existence; the speaker said, “Imagine someone drilling a sediment core sample to look at the historical layers of the earth’s soil, our defining layer will undoubtedly be plastic.”katie3

I have a long way to go when it comes to adopting a true zero waste lifestyle, but every step counts. Every choice is momentum forward, and I invite you to join me, join I Love A Clean San Diego, and join your community. Let’s rally together for the health of the planet and all the amazing creatures we share with it.

Join Katie and the rest of the ILACSD staff in our efforts to foster a zero waste lifestyle by attending our second annual Zero Waste Fair on June 17, 2017 in Encinitas! For more information on how to adopt a waste free lifestyle visit WasteFreeSD.org. For more information about our educational programs, contact education@cleansd.org.

Come Together This Kids’ Ocean Day

Today’s blog post was written by Education Specialist, Alaine

We’re counting down the days for the 24th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day on Thursday, May 18th at South Mission Beach!

Last year, 950 students, teachers, and volunteers called for a “sea change” with this powerful image, reminding individuals to be conscious of their impact on the Pacific Ocean:

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day Aerial Design

This year, students from eight Title 1 schools across the county, along with students across four other cities in California, will attend an assembly about ocean conservation, learning how we’re connected to the ocean through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the beaches we use for recreation. Students will then put their knowledge to practice and get hands-on experience protecting our marine environment.

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day volunteers

They will begin their day picking up litter across the beach to learn firsthand how different kinds of pollution travel through the watershed and harm our ocean. For some students, this unique experience will be their first visit to the beach!

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day volunteer

Following their hard work cleaning up the beach, each student will make their mark with our aerial art image. As small, individual dots in the big picture, they will unite to call humans to “come together” as protectors of our environment. Just how hundreds of people create a beautiful and powerful image in the sand, our combined small actions have a significant impact on the condition of our oceans. With over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans, and a Pacific Garbage Patch growing to be twice the size of Texas, this is a crucial time to unite our efforts and address global problems to create a cleaner future.

2017 Kids’ Ocean Day aerial design

2017 Kids’ Ocean Day aerial design

If you would like to be a part of this event, we’re looking for adult volunteers (18 and older) to lead students during the cleanup and the aerial art. If you’re interested, please register here. As a thank you, all volunteers will receive a photo of the completed aerial art image as a keepsake! Stay tuned to our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) on May 18th to see the final image.

How to Live WaterSmart

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The San Diego County Water Authority recently launched a campaign to encourage San Diego County residents to Live WaterSmart. The agency provides many free resources to support water-use efficiency as a way of life and encourage sustainable changes to homes and landscapes. This approach helps ensures our region will have sufficient water supplies for years to come.

Resources provided by the Water Authority and its partners include:

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Other great WaterSmart tips:

  • Check for leaks in your system by monitoring your water bill for abnormal changes in usage. Use your water meter to check specific areas for leaks.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch! Add mulch around trees and plants to retain moisture in the ground.
  • Regularly check your irrigation system for runoff, leaks and broken sprinkler heads. Upgrade to a water-efficient system to be as WaterSmart as possible!
  • Wash full loads of laundry and dishes to save on water and energy.
  • Incorporate native and low-water plants into your garden. In addition to saving water, these plants typically are easier to care for. That’s good news for those of us who don’t have a green thumb!
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, shaving and lathering.
  • Scrape food waste into a composting container instead of rinsing it down the drain.
  • Replace older appliances and fixtures with efficient WaterSense® models; take advantage of rebates to save money.
  • Irrigate in the evening or early morning; turn off irrigation systems when it rains and for at least 48 hours afterward

Let’s all be Gleaning Machines

Gleaning Canva GraphicNo there isn’t a typo in the title, gleaning is a real technique that helps minimize food waste and hunger. What is it? It’s a  practice, used for hundreds of years, that seeks to reduce the amount of food that is wasted because it is not visually appealing. Gleaners harvest the crops that are not used by farmers and deliver them to those in need.

Linda Trozer, a member of the Society of St. Andrew, explains the unbelievable reality of agricultural food waste in the U.S. today.  Food is wasted at a disturbingly high rate, “The statistics are that 96 billion pounds of food are left — this is pre-consumer food — to go to waste in this country.”

What does this have to do with the average American family? The answer is food deserts. Millions of Americans are living in these areas that are lacking in cost-friendly, nutritious food.

Food Desert Infogrpahic

By throwing away edible food for superficial reasons, farmers prevent access to fresh fruits and veggies for thousands of Americans and contribute to the food desert epidemic. Naked Juice produced an interesting documentary about food deserts and their effect on American neighborhoods.

Gleaning provides an excellent solution to the this problem. If it sounds like something you might want to participate in, check out local organizations such as San Diego Roots and Crop Swap  for upcoming events. Whether you are a farmer or a novice gardener, anyone can play a role in reducing food waste by gleaning or distributing gleaned produce.

Gleaning

Let’s glean the food waste away one lemon tree at a time!

If you want to learn more about the gleaning process and other food waste reduction practices,check out our past blog about gleaning and I Love A Clean San Diego’s recycling website. We can all be lean green gleaning machines! 

Zero Waste Travel with Emily

While schools were on break this summer, Emily, ILACSD’s education manager, took time to travel both domestically and internationally. During her journey, she learned about how other places manage resources and waste. Read on for her best tips for reducing waste while on vacation.Emily Taroko Gorge

Traveling is a popular pastime, and for good reason. Stepping outside our community exposes us to new ideas and helps us gain greater appreciation for our globe and the other inhabitants who share it.  Though traveling can throw off our normal routine, here are a few small, simple ways to maintain zero waste principles while on the go.

For the airplane:

  • Pack your own snacks and reusable water bottle to avoid the tempting pretzels and soft drinks. Although aluminum can be recycled continually, it’s better to avoid the energy used to manufacture and transport that can in the first place.
reusable snack container

Stainless steel container filled with bulk dried cranberries, pecans, and popcorn.

Eating throughout the trip:

  • Just like at home, dining in is more often zero waste than buying take-out. Even better, explore a local grocery store or farmer’s market. It’ll be easier to find items without packing, and you’ll get to experience a different aspect of the culture. Three items I always like to carry with me are a reusable water bottle, reusable spork, and reusable chopsticks. If I remember, I also pack my reusable stainless straw, though I usually just go straw-less. Pack any leftovers into the reusable container you used for your plane snacks.

    reusable chopsticks udon

    This delicious udon tasted even better with my reusable chopsticks.

Accommodations:

  • According to the EPA, 16% of water use in hotels is attributed to laundry. Help reduce their footprint by only refreshing towels when needed. Additionally, search for hotels who provide a “light clean” service – a practice that includes simply straightening the sheets like you do at home instead of laundering bed linens daily.
  • Some hotels and hostels donate partially used hygiene items to organizations like Clean the World. To see if where you’re staying is a participant, and to learn how much they’ve donated to date, click here.
  • Look for accommodations that have innovative, sustainable options as a way to test out potential lifestyle changes. Our Air Bnb in Kyoto had a combination sink-toilet, something my husband and I had been talking about for several months. Now that we’ve had a trial run, we’re more likely to invest in one for our home.

    toilet top sink

    After testing it out on our trip, now we’re even more excited to install a toilet-sink in our home!

Hygiene:

  • Opt for items with non-plastic packaging. On your next adventure, try bar shampoo or Toothy Tabs – dry toothpaste tablets brought to froth with a wet toothbrush. Both avoid the 3 oz. liquid limit for carry-on bags. Refill travel-sized bottles with your shampoo/conditioner/lotion at home before you go. I’ve been using the same set for over five years!

    https://i0.wp.com/cleansd.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/refillable-shampoo-osaka.jpg?ssl=1refillable shampoo Osaka

    Our hotel in Osaka provided shampoo, conditioner, and soap in refillable pumps.

Other:

  • Learn to use the waste systems in place for where you’re going. Take the time to stop and figure out how to divide your waste. You may even come home with a new idea about how to go green. Ten points to Gryffindor Seattle for having large-scale composting AND pictures of what to place in each receptacle. I witnessed multiple people stopping to read the sign before sorting their waste. The more educated we are, the more of an impact we can make.

waste bins Seattle

If you’re looking for more steps for zero waste travel, check out Girl For A Clean World on Instagram – she’s full of inspiration and innovative ideas. I’ll let this sign I saw in Taipei sum it all up:

sign_Taipei

A New Look is Coming to WasteFreeSD

There is some exciting news in store for I Love A Clean San Diego’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste database, WasteFreeSD.org. For those who have not visited the site, WasteFreeSD.org is an online database full of recycling resources and utilizes a search bar to generate results that are organized by priority and then by proximity to your zip code. Residents and businesses in San Diego County have instant recycling information at their fingertips 24/7.

WFSD before

Currently, WasteFreeSD.org provides recycling information, but more resources are coming soon!

So what’s the exciting news you ask? WasteFreeSD.org is getting a much needed makeover! The database is about 10 years old and although we have grown to love it for the services it provides, the functionality of the website needed an upgrade. In addition to the functionality of the website, the message had to take an innovative turn as well. WasteFreeSD.org has been San Diego County’s recycling database, the newly redesigned site is going to be a zero waste database. That’s huge! That means that when you complete a search for more information about a certain item, options to Reduce, Repurpose, Repair, Donate, and Recycle will populate. As San Diego County strives to send less to the landfill, we’re excited  to help local residents and businesses do their part through WasteFreeSD.org.

Newly redesigned features to WasteFreeSD.org include:

  • User friendly search bar
  • Results follow the zero waste hierarchy: Repair, Repurpose, Donate, Recycle, Dispose
  • Showcases more of I Love A Clean San Diego’s blogs
  • RepairSD.org will be housed under one website (no need for two separate searches!)
WFSD after

Sneak peek at the newly redesigned WasteFreeSD.org!!

The newly designed WasteFreeSD will be a more interactive and overall easier for San Diegans to use and conserve resources. The main page will highlight helpful articles, blogs, and infographics. Most importantly it will highlight our partners who help keep San Diego looking beautiful! One of our first featured spots will be SDG&E’s Marketplace, an interactive search tool that helps you find energy efficient products. SDG&E’s Marketplace allows for residents and businesses to shop around for products that are energy efficient, qualify for rebates, and are cost effective. WasteFreeSD will be released late-August but users can visit SDG&E’s Marketplace now!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news about WasteFreeSD.orgJoin us as San Diego leads the way to truly waste-free landfills!

How to love the beach & its ecosystems

Today’s blog comes from one of our Education Specialists, Becca! When she’s not in the office or a classroom, you’ll most likely find her at the beach!photo 4

“People protect what they love” ~Jacques Cousteau

Sometimes we chose to live by the ocean, but lack understanding of it. When we understand what we are living next to, we can help take care of it. This blog is for beach goers who admire the ocean but do not yet completely understand it.

What is all of this stuff lying out on the sand? What are those holes I see in the sand when the wave returns to the ocean? What is that smell on the beach?12513850_2611838140855_3439960453982877308_o

What is algae? Algae is a living organism that photosynthesizes like a plant. The difference between the two is that plants produce flowers and algae does not. For those of you that have not yet snorkeled or dived in a kelp forest, it is something worth mentioning. Kelp is one of the most important producers off the coast of California. What is it producing? Oxygen for all air breathers, homes for animals, and food for animals like urchins. It is also one of the many species of algae you will find washed up along the beach.

Sand also covers our beaches and thanks to this resource, we have interesting animals living in the sand called Pacific Mole Crabs. Pacific Mole Crabs are filter feeders; they eat by waving around their secondary antennae in the water. They don’t have claws, so don’t worry about those when you hold them! These creatures burrow through the sand and act as an indication of the health of the ecosystem. Their presence reassures us that we have healthy beaches.  When you next see bubbles in the sand after the wave returns the ocean, dig down to find some Pacific Mole Crabs.

How about the smell of the sea breeze? The ocean’s smell is a combination of a few elements. If it were a recipe, it would look a little something like this:

  • Bromophenols: Comes from fish, oysters, shrimp, crabs, and oysters as a result of their diet which includes algae, worms, etc.
  • Dimethyl sulfide (DMS): The clammy or sulfur smell comes from bacteria that eat phytoplankton.
  • Dictyopterenes: Pheromones of algae, as most would guess, smells like dried seaweed.

Next time you walk down to the beach, feel free to explore! The more you about the beach and its ecosystems, you’re bound to discover whole different world!

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Sources: http://www.popsci.com/seasmells – ocean smells

Closing the Loop on Food & Plastics

An important conversation is buzzing right now locally and nationally about food waste. This past April a mandatory organics recycling law went into effect in California, requiring businesses generating 8 cubic yards of organic waste per week to divert it from the landfill. The nationwide campaign supported by the Ad Council is a call to action to end the 300 lbs. of food the average person tosses away each year. But what about the hard plastics most of this food is packaged in?

Bulk Food and Produce 1

Plastic free grocery shopping.

Unfortunately, plastics and food go hand in hand. Walk down any grocery store aisle and most food is accompanied with some form of plastic. Some plastics take the form of a container to hold butter or coffee grounds; others might be the tags keeping bread bags closed. The concept of the zero-waste grocery store is just beginning to make strides here in the United States. Here are some different ways to apply the zero waste hierarchy to the plastics that might accompany the food you buy.

Reduce:

One of the simplest steps to closing the loop with food products is purchasing in bulk or at your local farmer’s market. I love to bring my own cloth bags and the farmers market is a great way to avoid the plastic containers that a lot of produce comes in.

Reuse:

Small plastic containers that hold candies like tic-tacs can be reused to hold spices to take camping. K-cups can even be used as starts for seedlings! Try using plastic bread tags as identifiers for different keys or a holder for hair ties.

Repurposed TicTac Containers via pinterest

Credit: skruben.blogspot.com

 Repurpose:

Take on a small art project and repurpose that plastic container into something useful! I decided to turn a container that once held oats into one that holds plastic trash bags.

Repurposed Bag Container_Leila

Repurposed oatmeal container that now holds trash bags. I had fun decorating the outside of it!

 Recycle:

Recycle when you can! Hard, rigid plastic containers can be placed in your blue bin, as well as items in tetra-pak containers like almond milk.

If you are curious about other plastics that can be recycled or how you can take steps to reduce your food waste footprint, visit WasteFreeSD.org.

Can recycle: milk cartons, juice boxes, and broth boxes

Recyclable: milk cartons, juice boxes, and broth boxes

 

Save the Forgotten Food

One of the best ways to fight food waste is to re-think the food that we buy in comparison to the food that we actually use. We’ve all had that feeling of disappointment while going through our refrigerator only to find hidden fruits and veggies that turned moldy because they were shoved  into the back of the fridge. To understand why this is problematic, check out this short video produced by Ad Council.

The Ad Council provides helpful tips on the best ways to prevent food waste in your home including rethinking your shopping guidelines and understanding the truth behind the dates on the food we buy! Here are some of our favorite food saving tips for our wallets and the environment!

Before you head out of the grocery store, start by planning your grocery list.  Here is an example made specifically for creating zero food waste. One of the best things you can do is to only buy enough fresh food for the upcoming week.

Here are some more tips on meal planning to help make grocery store lists easier to plan:

mEAL

  1. Take a few moments and figure out exactly how many meals you need to prepare.
  2. Consider the work load of the week to decide the complexity of meals you can make.
  3. Incorporate seasonal produce.
  4. Track your food consumption weekly to get a more accurate idea of how much food you need.
  5. Food expiration dates are only suggestions; they refer to the manufacturer’s estimate of when the food quality will be at its best and has less to do with actual food safety.
  6. Use a recipe generator to use up odds and ends left in your kitchen

Once you’re at the store, grab your reusable bags, and your shopping list. Our Marketing Manager, Sarah, keeps her grocery list on her phone because handwritten notes are easily forgotten or lost.

Also, while you’re scoping out the produce, choose the “ugly” fruits and veggies. Odd shapes and superficial imperfections do not affect the taste or health benefits of the produce at all!

There are many things you can do here in San Diego reduce food waste – limit portion sizes, plan grocery lists, or volunteer at a food bank such as San Diego Food System Alliance, and San Diego Food Bank. Use any of these resources as a launching pad for your path to creating less food waste!

Highlights from our Zero Waste Summit

Our education team just celebrated the end of our first series of community workshops! by hosting a Zero Waste Summit!

The Zero Waste Summit, a culmination of our Sustainable Living Series, brought together participants from throughout San Diego County to learn the ins and outs of going zero waste. At the Summit, participants explored Ocean Knoll Farm, while exchanging ideas for incorporating zero waste practices into their everyday lives. With help from The City of Encinitas, Jimbo’s, the Solana Center, Healthy Day Partners, and ILACSD, workshop goers went home with zero waste toolkits to jumpstart a more eco-conscious lifestyle. Take a closer look at how the event unfolded!

Participants were given the opportunity to meander through Ocean Knoll Farm, which provides fresh produce for local Encinitas school lunches, and check out the incredible work of Healthy Day Partners.

Thank you to Healthy Day Partners for providing an incredible space for our workshops at Ocean Knoll Farm!

Workshop goers participated in a “Swap & Shop” where they could exchange used items including books, toys, clothing, and movies. Learn how to host a “Swap & Shop” party with your family and friends!

Host a swap & shop at your office or your next get together with friends and family!

Participants discussed tips and tricks for going zero waste with experts from The City of Encinitas, Healthy Day Partners, ILACSD, The Solana Center, and Jimbo’s. Each booth focused on a specific zero waste topic including recipes for natural cleaners, the importance and simplicity of at-home composting, the personal and environmental benefits of purchasing local and organic produce, and were provided reusable containers and bags for restaurant left-overs and grocery shopping.

At the summit, participants visited our partner booths to get zero waste tips, tricks and giveaways!

The speaker panel that included representatives from The City of Encinitas, EDCO, Snooze Eatery, and Kitchens for Good, provided participants with valuable information, advice, and personal experiences to build the foundation for starting a zero waste lifestyle.

Participants enjoyed letting their creativity shine as they repurposed glass bottles into decorative vases and hummingbird feeders.

Repurposing is a great way to keep everyday items out of the landfill. Wine bottles become decor, or an old toy could become a planter.

Workshop goers were given the opportunity to enter a free raffle where they had the chance to win compost bins and a variety of reusable items including reusable produce bags, travel utensils, water bottles, metal straws, coffee thermoses, and more!

All of our participants walked away with at least one new tool to start on their way to zero waste!

A huge thank you goes out to all of our participants and partners who made the Sustainable Living Series such a success!

To participate in an upcoming workshop or cleanup, visit CleanSD.org!


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