On a cold and early May morning, as the sun began to stretch its rays over Dockweiler State Beach, crowds started forming in anticipation of the annual KIDS OCEAN DAY. Known as the largest student-led beach clean-up in the state of California, over 4,000 students, parents, and volunteers stood together in unison to celebrate this year’s theme of “Care for What You Love.”
For many children, Kids Ocean Day is the first time that they have ever experienced their local beaches. Milly Leon, a fifth grader from Euclid Elementary, was selected to share her story and her connection with the beach. She is one of 700 students that participated in Kids Ocean Day this year who had never been to the beach before.
“This year, we are celebrating our 26th year as thousands of children experience and love the beach, some for the first time,” said Michael Klubock, founder of the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education and KIDS OCEAN DAY. “Love, for me, is the foundation of caring. Our theme this year taps into the basic emotion of love that I think activates people into action. Caring for their family, neighborhood and the beaches and ocean.”
Kids Ocean Day is a statewide event that actually begins earlier in the academic year for school children. The Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education provides year-round assemblies about pollution prevention that begin to lay foundational knowledge for kids before they even step foot onto the beach. Students learn about the negative impacts of trash and litter pollution on the streets and how their everyday actions can help to maintain a clean beach that is safe for sea animals and beachgoers alike.
After months of preparation, coordination, learning, and empowerment, the students finally take their first step on the beach. It is an awesome and inspiring sight to see the children stepping out of the buses, gloves in hand, and to feel the energy that they bring to the beach cleanup. To conclude the gathering, students came together to form an aerial art formation in the shape of sea animals and a heart. The aerial art formation sends a loud message to the rest of Los Angeles about the love that exists for our beaches, and the large potential impact we can have when we show up and Care for What We Love.
To learn more about Kids Ocean Day, visit kidsoceanday.org. To view aerial art from previous years, visit oceanday.net.