Saving Summertime Celebrations from Litter with the Clean Beach Coalition

One of the best ways people choose to spend their holiday weekends is on the beach — especially in sunny San Diego. With Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day coming up, families and friends will flock to the coast to celebrate their long weekends. In response to the influx of locals and tourists, ILACSD and the San Diego Clean Beach Coalition (SDCBC) will place 200 temporary trash and recycling bins along some of the city’s busiest beaches to reduce the amount of beach and marine litter.

A Clean Beach Coalition recycling bins set out for the Fourth of July last summer!

Over the past decade, SDCBC has kept 3.5 million pounds of trash off the beach and out of the ocean. This past year, over 61,000 pounds of debris were collected during the summer holiday weekends. With the support of Think Blue San Diego, PB Shore ClubFreePB, and more, SDCBC aims to educate beachgoers about the benefits of swapping reusable alternatives for single-use products.

How can you make the most out of your holiday weekends while staying sustainable? SDCBC recommends that visitors bring hard plastic coolers, refillable water bottles, and food storage containers to reduce the amount of disposables items brought to the beach. Avoid bringing plastic straws and utensils! And make sure all recyclables are clean, dry, and empty. Spend less time worrying about your waste by visiting our zero waste database, WasteFreeSD.org, for everything you need to know about reusable options!

Summer can stay sustainable by simply packing reusable options when preparing to head to the beach!

In fact, your only worry while basking in the sun at the beach should be when to reapply sunscreen. That is why SDCBC’s goal is to ensure that the safety of the community and the ecosystem is not compromised by the impact of litter. With these easily accessible CBC bins, visitors are able to responsibly throw away and recycle their waste while still enjoying their vacations. Even at the most crowded beaches, people will still be able to enjoy the sun, sand, and the ocean in San Diego!

Not planning to hit the beach for the holidays? No worries! You can still party with a purpose while you celebrate this summer! A picture is all it takes to support ILACSD as the local Keep America Beautiful affiliate. With Absolut Vodka’s new Absolut America campaign, for every photo submitted through the site, $1 will be donated to Keep America Beautiful or another selected charity. After submitting your photo, you can share the decked out picture on social media to show how easy it is to support ILACSD and Keep America Beautiful all summer while you #PartyWithAPurpose with #AbsolutAmerica.

Support Keep America Beautiful and its affiliates by submitting a photo of how you party with a purpose to Absolut America!

With the Clean Beach Coalition and Absolut America, it is simple to #DoBeautifulThings. Just by recognizing the impact that waste has on water ecosystems, San Diegans are better prepared to act wisely when it comes to waste, especially during the summer holidays. For more information about the Clean Beach Coalition, make sure to visit CleanBeachCoalition.org.

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Cox Communications Gives Back to Our Community!

An eager group of Cox Communications employees ready to get started cleaning up De Anza Cove!

I Love a Clean San Diego volunteers work year round to ensure our neighborhoods and communities are safe and healthy places for all to enjoy. Throughout San Diego County, ILACSD volunteers remove thousands of pounds of harmful litter and debris which are detrimental to our environment and local wildlife. In 2016, over 33,000 volunteers from all walks of life came together to make a positive difference—we can accomplish so much together!

ILACSD is especially grateful for our partners at Cox Communications and their commitment to the environment! Since 2013, Cox Communications volunteers have made an impact in San Diego through their support at many different cleanup events such as Creek to Bay and Coastal Cleanup Day. Cox volunteers have been instrumental in cleanup efforts in the areas of Rose Creek, Oceanside Pier, Chula Vista, and many more locations. Support Cox Communications has provided for the annual Kids’ Ocean Day event has supplied environmental education materials, transportation, and cleanup equipment for hundreds of San Diego youth from low-income schools.

Cox Communications volunteers collecting debris around De Anza Cove.

On September 12th, nearly a group volunteers from Cox Communications volunteered to clean up Mission Bay’s De Anza Cove. Together, they collected 387 pounds of litter and 19 pounds of recycling. This work helped to protect marine life and other animals from dangerous, small pieces of litter, which can be mistaken for food and is often deadly. We thank Cox Communications for their support all year long! For more information on Cox Communication’s dedication to the environment, please visit www.coxcharitiesca.org!

After splitting into teams to clean up De Anza Cove, the winning team boasted about the 160 pounds of trash they collected! Way to go!

 

COME TOGETHER: Kids’ Ocean Day 2017

I Love A Clean San Diego once again partnered with the California Coastal Commission for our 19th annual Kids’ Ocean Day. On May 18, 2017, over 900 students, teachers, and volunteers united together to clean up Mission Beach and the surrounding area. These dedicated 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders rallied together from 7 local schools to protect our oceans by collecting thousands of pieces of litter and marine debris. Common items found during the cleanup included small pieces of plastic, snack wrappers, straws, and Styrofoam. The students’ cooperative energy and childlike verve were tangible on the beach that day.

Students from Porter Elementary show off the waste they collected and their shirts decorated with this year’s theme – COME TOGETHER.
Students from Porter Elementary show off the waste they collected and their shirts decorated with this year’s theme – COME TOGETHER.

Following the cleanup, students united with community volunteers to form an aerial art image. One of the most common questions we receive is, “how do you make the aerial art happen?” Here’s a peek behind the curtain:

Each year, I Love A Clean San Diego’s education department designs an aerial art image that follows the statewide theme for all 5 Kids’ Ocean Day partners. On the day of the event, the ILACSD aerial art team assembles before daybreak to produce the much-anticipated image. Equipped with irrigation flags, surveyor’s tape, and extra-long measuring tapes, our amazing staff spend the wee hours of the morning meticulously plotting each and every point of the aerial artwork image. This year’s theme – COME TOGETHER – draws on the power we have when united in our efforts to protect and defend the oceans and coastlines from pollution.

As students began to file into the formation, anticipation was high; everyone was excited to see the helicopter fly overhead, photographer inside, capturing our hard work from the sky. It was a gratifying moment to see all the students, teachers, volunteers, and staff sit in stillness within the image for 10 brief minutes. After months of planning, we were all rewarded with a powerful piece of art so vast it can only be seen from the sky.KAAB2017finalimage

The success of the day could be measured by the faces of the beaming students. They felt a sense of accomplishment from doing their part to help clean up the environment. The students now stand united as true “Scholars for the Sea!”

Kids’ Ocean Day is a magnificent event that helps to bring environmental awareness and stewardship to the forefront of these students’ minds. It is a day of joining forces and demonstrating to the kids what it means to work together as one. The students walked away from Kids’ Ocean Day feeling empowered and armed with the understanding that their personal choices have power and their everyday actions will impact our environment and our future.

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ILACSD volunteer spotlight

For today’s blog, we’d like to turn the spotlight towards one of ILACSD’s past volunteers, Lauren. Although Lauren has since moved to the east coast, she hasn’t forgotten her roots here in San Diego, where she first developed her love for the ocean. Read on to learn more about her perspective as a volunteer and how her experience developed into being so much more than a school assignment. 

Lauren - guest blogSo you’re from San Diego… That generally implies that you have a large collection of bathing suits and flip-flops and an inherent love of the ocean. As a San Diegan myself I cannot disagree with those thoughts. I do, in fact, own a few too many bikinis, a number of flip-flops, and I have a great love for the ocean. No matter if I am tanning, swimming or paddle boarding, I enjoy spending my free time on the coast. At times, however, when the shores are littered with trash and debris, it can be hard to truly enjoy and appreciate the beauty of San Diego’s beaches. Enter, I Love a Clean San Diego, a local non-profit organization that not only promotes clean coastlines, but also involves the entire County of San Diego community in its efforts.

My volunteer efforts with ILACSD began as a high school assignment; in order to graduate, I was required to complete 12 hours of service work during each of my four years. To ensure that volunteer efforts were being evenly distributed throughout the community, the school also required students to volunteer with a different organization each year. Senior year, I decided to dedicate my time to environmental issues and participated in multiple beach clean ups with ILACSD. I partook in my first clean up alone and later invited my mother to participate in others with me. Working as a team not only helped my mother and I bond, but increased our ability to clean the given beach. I have benefitted from my beach clean up experiences in other ways as well; I now have a greater love for the San Diego community and appreciation for our beaches. Witnessing the great things a group of San Diegans can accomplish by donating a few hours of their time to cleaning the coast makes me proud to be from America’s Finest City.
guest blog - mt. soledad
The  beach cleanups organized by ILACSD provide all San Diegans with an opportunity to demonstrate the pride they have in their city and beaches and get involved in local efforts to maintain safe and clean beaches for all. A schedule of upcoming beach cleanups can be found on the ILACSD website.

Written by Lauren Van Abel, paddle board enthusiast and marketing specialist.

What’s What at the 2014 Creek to Bay Cleanup

Amy Millard-105_croppedToday’s post comes from I Love A Clean San Diego’s Director of Development & Marketing, Morgan Justice-Black, who will be attending her 8th Creek to Bay Cleanup on April 26, 2014! 

 

I remember my first Creek to Bay Cleanup, it was April 28th, 2007. We hosted our kick off site at Belmont Park in Mission Beach, and it was freezing! But, we still managed to bring out more than 200 volunteers at that site, and just over 3,000 volunteers countywide.

Coldest Creek to Bay Cleanup in memory!
Coldest Creek to Bay Cleanup in memory!

Fast forward to today and we are recruiting an impressive 6,000 volunteers each year, double that of just 7 years prior. A lot has changed about Creek to Bay over the year’s, but the constant has been the heart of San Diego residents who come out to lend a hand, despite rain or record high temperatures!

 

In just a few short weeks, I Love A Clean San Diego will be hosting its 12th Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup. Here’s a cheat sheet of what you’re in store for you if you volunteer on April 26th at Creek to Bay. A few things that we have planned for this year’s cleanup include:

 

1. Currently there are 95 cleanup sites available for volunteers to participate in. This is more than ever before! Cleanup sites stretch from Oceanside to Imperial Beach and all the way out to Alpine! We’ve also got a number of incredible site captains who are leading these cleanup sites. Learn more about some of them as we feature them in upcoming blog posts. See them all online at www.CreektoBay.org

 

2. We are offering Scout patches for Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops who volunteer. Have you seen this year’s patch design? Here it is! Once the cleanup concludes, participants can go back onto our website, www.CreektoBay.org and request their patches.

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3. The Bring Your Own Reusables campaign is back in full force, meaning that we want all of our volunteers to bring a few things to help reduce our waste at the cleanup. Please remember to bring: a plastic bucket or other container to collect trash in, work gloves or gardening gloves, and a canteen for refilling with water at the event. You may have heard that our Bring Your Own Reusables campaign, which we fondly refer to as “BYO”, received national recognition by Keep America Beautiful this winter. In case you need a visual reminder, here is what to bring:

Bring Your Own
Bring Your Own bucket, work gloves and reusable water bottle to Creek to Bay!
Here we are, accepting the Innovation Award from Keep America Beautiful!
Here we are, accepting the Innovation Award from Keep America Beautiful!

 

4. Our generous friends at Sony Electronics are once again sponsoring our Creek to Bay Photo Contest! This year’s theme…Be The Change! We are asking folks to snap a photo of themselves or their volunteer group changing our environment for the better at Creek to Bay. More information about the contest and submission guidelines are on our Creek to Bay contest page.

Here's last year's photo contest winner, Evan!
Here’s last year’s photo contest winner, Evan!

 

5. Just a month after our Creek to Bay Cleanup, volunteers will have the opportunity to get together and share stories about the weirdest items they found at our 60th Anniversary Celebration Event. Join us on May 29th from 6:30 – 9pm at SeaWorld for what is bound to be a great time! More information is on our website too!

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Can’t wait to see all of you out there on April 26th for another fabulous Creek to Bay Cleanup. And here’s to hoping that this year’s weather is a little warmer than 2007, but not as warm as 2008!

Creek to Bay Photo Contest – Time to Vote!

On your mark….get set….VOTE!

For the second year in a row, I Love A Clean San Diego has teamed up with Sony Electronics to host a Creek to Bay photo contest. We asked volunteers at this year’s cleanup to best capture the “spirit of service” and send a photo to be entered into our contest. We received a ton of wonderful photos, so it was hard to narrow it down, but we did! We are so lucky to have such hardworking and enthusiastic volunteers!  Our top 5 entries have been posted on our Facebook page and it’s up to you to decide who the winner is! All you need to do is ‘Like’ our page and vote for your favorite photo by liking it, it’s as simple as that! Voting is open until Thursday, May 9th and the winner will be announced Friday, May 10th.  This year’s winner will be receiving a new Sony Cyber-shot camera!

Take a look at our Top 5 photos from this year’s contest (in no particular order):

The Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve sure looks a lot cleaner thanks to the help of this young lady!
Working hard or hardly working? These guys show how fun volunteering can be; you never know what you’ll find!
This Girl Scout Troop had a very successful time cleaning up La Jolla Shores! Check out all of that trash! Impressive job!
This 12 year old Boy Scout is saving marine wildlife one piece of trash at a time! Way to go!
These volunteers show what team work looks like at the Chollas Earthlab site!

Spotlight On: Aimee Edmonds, Creek to Bay site captain

Join Aimee Edmonds and her family as volunteers for this year's Creek to Bay Cleanup, and help protect our coast!
Join Aimee Edmonds and her family as volunteers for this year’s Creek to Bay Cleanup, and help protect our coast!

When Aimee Edmonds’ daughter’s American Heritage Girls troop chose our Creek to Bay Cleanup as their spring service project, she had no idea she would soon be bringing together not only the troop, but also her church, to clean up the area around their local elementary school. While looking around the Creek to Bay website for a cleanup site for the AHG troop Aimee said, “I quickly narrowed my search to Mira Mesa on the Creek to Bay website and there discovered ILACSD’s outstanding need for a Creek to Bay site in none other than…Mira Mesa!”

Mira Mesa, and specifically Hage Elementary School, is where Aimee and her family attend Newbreak Church, so she knew that the area was in need of not only litter pickup, but landscaping and painting projects. Aimee immediately reached out to our Community Events Department and signed up as the site captain for Mira Mesa. As the site captain, Aimee will receive training and supplies for her site from ILACSD and then will lead the volunteers the day of Creek to Bay.

When we asked Aimee why she though events like the Creek to Bay Cleanup were important she said,

“A clean San Diego is a visible expression that we as residents responsibly care about and appreciate our community where we live and breathe…Serving others is cross-generational and cross-cultural as it builds character in our youth, adolescents, and adults. The next generation is taught how to be good stewards of the things in which we are entrusted.”

Site captains like Aimee are the heart and soul of the Creek to Bay Cleanup, we could not mobilize 6,000+ volunteers at 92 sites across the county – all on one day – without them! Aimee says, “I look forward to bringing people together to help meet real needs at Hage Elementary. We want to show their administration, staff, teachers, students and families we value them as we come alongside them.”

Thanks Aimee and all our other site captains for the great work that you do as an extension of the ILACSD staff!