Heal the Bay Blog

Author: Emely Garcia

Beach Programs Manager, Emely Garcia, highlights how Heal the Bay is relaunching our Adopt-A-Beach cleanup program to be a safe, fun, and refreshing summer challenge.

For more than 20 years, Heal the Bay’s Adopt-A-Beach cleanup volunteers have worked together to keep LA County’s natural and coastal resources heathy and safe. Our Adopt-A-Beach program gives passionate volunteers the tools to lead independent cleanups, collect critical marine debris data, and actively participate in protecting what we love. Since mid-March, Heal the Bay has postponed all public cleanup programming to protect public health in response to COVID-19, and we look forward to hosting public cleanups once it is safer to gather.

With the start of summer, we’re excited to relaunch our official Adopt-A-Beach Program for individuals, families, and households that are eager to be a part of the solution to ocean pollution. Ocean pollution starts at our front doors, and local trash on our streets travels through the storm drain systems, creeks, and rivers to become beach and ocean pollution. Everyone can take part and help prevent ocean-bound trash by participating in local neighborhood cleanups. Heal the Bay volunteers have removed more than 2.5 million pounds of trash from L.A County beaches, rivers and neighborhoods. Our newly reimagined Adopt-A-Beach program is adapted to support you and your household to lead a safe and fun cleanup.


About the Official Adopt-A-Beach Program 

Our Adopt-A-Beach program originally began as an effort to protect our coastal resource, but Adopt-A-Beach volunteers are encouraged to participate at any location that needs TLC in LA County, such as a park, street, creek, or beach.  To participate in the Adopt-A-Beach program, a group needs to commit to cleaning up a favorite outdoor location three times in a year. The program is extremely flexible and allows participants to choose the day, time, and location of their cleanups. Plus, it’s a fun and active way to get involved community science research. (See our guidelines for more details*) 

What’s the incentive? 

  • Heal the Bay Educational resources and safety talk from Heal the Bay’s Speakers Bureau. 
  • An official Heal the Bay Adoption Certificate upon completion of all three cleanups. 
  • Opportunity to be featured on Heal the Bay’s Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
  • TONS of kudos for leaving a special place outdoors better than you found it.

 So what are you waiting for? Take part in the official Adopt-A-Beach Summer Challenge today!  

View the Adopt-A-Beach Guide


Heal the Bay is proud to join Latino Outdoors and partners in the celebration of Latino Conservation Week, July 18th– 26th 2020.

Latino Conservation Week (LCW) is an annual initiative presented by the Hispanic Access Foundation to highlight the Latinx experience in outdoor stewardship and environmentalism. Since its launch in 2014, LCW has had tremendous growth across the country in the outdoor engagement and conservation advocacy by Latinx communities.

This week, community groups, environmental nonprofits, and agencies will host virtual and in-person events (where safe to do so) to support Latinx Latino community getting into the outdoors and participating in activities to protect our natural resources. These events are for all ages and typically include hiking, camping, cleanups, and workshops that inspire participants to take part in protecting our land, water, and air and participate in larger conversations around current environmental issues.

How to Participate

This year, participation will take place safely and a lot of it will be online. Every day of the week invites a different call to action and we encourage you to join the conversation by following @LCW_National @HispanicAccess and @LatinoOutdoors on Twitter and @latinoconservationweek @hispanicaccess and @latinooutdoors on IG.

At Heal the Bay, we recognize that social and environmental issues are intrinsically linked. Historical injustices have led to inequitable access to the outdoors for communities of color. Heal the Bay is committed to fighting for environmental justice through our Science, Policy, and Outreach programs.

Currently, Heal the Bay is working to connect Latinx youth to their watersheds and ocean is through Gotitas Del Saber, our new bilingual/Spanish marine conservation educational series. The program includes regularly scheduled Spanish-language virtual webinar for students of all ages about science and the ocean. Join us live or explore past events.

Join us for Gotitas Del Saber

Why It’s Important

Beyond exploring the outdoors, Latino Conservation Week, at its core, is about outdoor connection, education, and cultural expression —and for many US-born Latin American-identifying youth and young adults, it’s a pathway and connection into outdoor advocacy and/or pursuing a degree in STEM through community support and mentorship.

For many Latin Americans, participating in conservation is an act of long-standing connection to nature. It’s a part of cultural preservation that involves nature-based solutions and practices that are deeply rooted in the Latin American cultural expression and identity. Protecting the health of our watershed, fighting for clean air, and protecting robust wildlife habitat is connected to century-old practices and traditions that continue through the enjoyment and protection of our open spaces.

Recent studies show that Hispanics/Latinxs express higher levels of environmental concern and have a higher willingness to engage in climate activism than white Americans, yet Latinos remain largely underrepresented in the environmental sector despite the support of environmental policies and efforts. Nevertheless, Latinx participation in the environmental field and movement is critical to the growth of outdoor equity, solving the climate crisis through science and community solutions, mobilizing communities for environmental justice, and inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards.



Emely Garcia, our Beach Programs Manager, rounds up some do-it-yourself activities to celebrate Earth Month while continuing to practice physical distancing.

Did you know that 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day? Amidst all of the changes, we are thinking of ways we can celebrate during the entire month of April, and hope you are too.

If you are looking for an impactful activity for you and those in your household to get involved in, we suggest a DIY cleanup and scavenger hunt in your neighborhood. The supplies are minimal, it’s a great way to get some physical activity nearby, and you can leave a spot in your community better than you found it.

I’ve rounded up some tips and instructions for a DIY neighborhood cleanup, a neighborhood scavenger hunt, and more ways to get involved below. Happy Earth Month 2020!

Neighborhood Cleanup

Before Starting Your Cleanup:

1. Gather Materials

  • Cleanup supplies: work gloves to protect your hands and an old bucket or bag to collect trash are the perfect tools for a successful cleanup. Please do not pick up trash if you are not wearing gloves.
  • Protection from the elements: Sun protective gear, such as a hat and sunglasses, and breathable clothing is highly recommended.
  • Activity essentials: Pack a few essentials like a first aid kit, a filled reusable water bottle, and some of your favorite snacks to stay safe and hydrated.
  • Trash tracking tools: Download the Marine Debris Tracker App on your mobile device or print out our Cleanup Data Card and take a pencil to track your finds.

2. Safety First

  • Watch our Cleanup Safety Video or read our Cleanup Safety Talk aloud to your cleanup crew. Have a brief discussion at the end to ensure that everyone understands the safety tips, and what not to pick up. DO NOT pick up medical waste, hazardous waste, gloves, masks, syringes, needles, sharp objects, condoms, tampons, waste materials, etc.
  • Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly once you’ve returned home.
  • Limit your cleanup group participants to only the people in your household to accommodate physical distancing and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you see other people while you are outside, make sure to stay at least 6 feet away. If you or someone in your household feels sick, please stay home.

3. Pick Your Site (please check for park, beach, and trail closures)

  • Adhere to county guidelines and respect closures and find a cleanup site that is accessible for you and everyone in your household and within walking distance from where you live. See the latest status on beach and beach facility closures in LA County.
  • Some of the best cleanup locations could be your neighborhood block, park, creek, or trail with a waste receptacle or trash can nearby.
  • When you find a site, make sure you take a photo before your cleanup effort.
  • Remember that all storm drains lead to out the ocean, and leading a neighborhood cleanup helps prevent ocean-bound trash from ever making its way down the storm drain. That makes you and your loved ones ocean protectors!
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After Your Neighborhood Cleanup:

    • Take photos of your family members getting the job done. 
    • Snap some final photos of what your site looks like after the cleanup.
    • Dump your collected trash at the nearest waste receptacle or trash can, and celebrate your work! 
    • Share your photos and finds by tagging us @healthebay and using the hashtag #healthebay. 
    • Give each other kudos for being a part of an amazing cleanup effort.


Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt

While this is a fun activity for all ages, we know that the little ones will especially love it. The possibilities for neighborhood scavenger hunts are endless, but here are a few of my favorite ideas for your next neighborhood walk or cleanup together:

Things To Spot

  1. Bicycle
  2. Flowers
  3. Art or a mural 
  4. Stop sign 
  5. Something blue like the ocean or the sky
  6. Out of state license plate 
  7. Songbird
  8. Mailbox 
  9. Tiny bug
  10. Storm drain 

Things To Clean Up

  1. Snack bags or candy wrappers
  2. Cups or lids
  3. Plastic utensils
  4. Cigarette butts
  5. Glass bottles
  6. Aluminum cans
  7. Soda cans
  8. Balloons 
  9. Plastic bags
  10. Plastic pieces 

Things to avoid: sharp objects, heavy objects. If you find something that needs to be picked up by city officials. Call 311 to report bulk items.

More Ways to Get Involved

Emely Garcia, nuestra Gerente de Programas de Playas, resume algunas actividades que podemos hacer para celebrar el Mes de la Tierra mientras continuamos con las  prácticas  de distanciamiento físico.

¿Sabías que 2020 marca el 50 aniversario del Día de la Tierra? En medio de todos los cambios, estamos pensando en todas las formas  que podamos celebrarlo durante todo el mes de abril.

Si estás buscando una actividad impactante para tí y los miembros de tu hogar, te sugerimos una limpieza y un juego de buscar el tesoro en tu vecindario. Los suministros son mínimos, es una excelente manera de realizar alguna actividad física, y puede obtener una comunidad bella y limpia mejor  de la que encontró.

He reunido algunos consejos e instrucciones para una limpieza de vecindario, una búsqueda de tesoro y más formas de involucrarse a continuación. ¡Feliz mes de la Tierra 2020!

Limpieza de barrio

Antes de comenzar tu limpieza:

1. Reúne materiales

  • Suministros de limpieza: guantes de trabajo para proteger tus manos y una cubeta o bolsa para recoger la basura son las herramientas perfectas para una limpieza exitosa. No recojas la basura si no usas guantes.
  • Protección: se recomienda usar equipo de protección solar, como sombreros, gafas de sol, y ropa transpirable.
  • Elementos esenciales: Empacar un botiquín de primeros auxilios, una botella de agua reutilizable llena y algunos de tus refrigerios favoritos para mantenerte seguro e hidratado.
  • Herramientas de rastreo de basura: descarga la aplicación Marine Debris Tracker App en tu dispositivo móvil o imprime nuestra tarjeta de datos de limpieza  Cleanup Data Card y toma un lápiz para rastrear tus hallazgos.

2. Seguridad primero

  • Mira nuestro Video de seguridad de limpieza  Cleanup Safety Video o lee nuestra Seguridad de limpieza  Cleanup Safety. Habla en voz alta con tu equipo de limpieza. Ten una breve discusión al final para asegurarte de que todos entienden los consejos de seguridad y lo que no se debe recoger. NO recojas desechos médicos, desechos peligrosos, guantes, máscaras, jeringas, agujas, objetos punzantes, condones, tampones, materiales de desecho, etc.
  • Asegúrete de lavarte bien las manos una vez que hayas regresado a casa.
  • Limita a los participantes de tu grupo de limpieza solo a las personas de tu hogar para acomodar el distanciamiento físico y ayudar a reducir la propagación de COVID-19. Si ves a otras personas mientras estás afuera, asegúrate de permanecer al menos a 6 pies de distancia. Si tú o alguien en tu hogar se siente enfermo, quédate en casa.

3. Elije tu sitio (verifica el cierre de parques, playas y senderos)

  • Adhiérete a las pautas del condado y respeta los cierres y encuentra un sitio de limpieza que sea accesible para tí y todos los miembros de tu hogar.
  • Algunos de los mejores lugares de limpieza podría ser la cuadra de tu vecindario, parque, arroyo o  sendero con recipientes de basura cercano.
  • Cuando encuentresun sitio, asegúrete de tomar una foto antes de tu limpieza.
  • Recuerda que todos los desagües pluviales conducen al océano, y llevar a cabo una limpieza del vecindario ayuda a evitar que la basura con destino al océano llegue al drenaje pluvial. ¡Eso te convierte a tí y a tus seres queridos en los defensores del océano!
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Después de la limpieza de tu vecindario:

    • Toma fotos de los miembros de tu familia realizando el trabajo.
    • Toma algunas fotos finales de cómo se ve tu sitio después de la limpieza.
    • ¡Tira la basura colectada en el recipiente de basura más cercano y celebra tu trabajo!
    • Comparte tus fotos y hallazgos etiquetándonos @healthebay y usando el hashtag #healthebay.
    • Felicítense por ser parte de un increíble esfuerzo de limpieza.


Búsqueda del tesoro del vecindario

Si bien esta es una actividad divertida para todas las edades, sabemos que a los pequeños les encantará. Las posibilidades de búsqueda del tesoro en el vecindario son infinitas, pero estas son algunas de mis ideas favoritas para tu próxima caminata o limpieza del vecindario:

Cosas para detectar

  1. bicicleta
  2. flores
  3. Arte o un mural
  4. Señal de Stop
  5. Algo azul como el océano o el cielo
  6. Placas vehiculares de difernte estado
  7. Pájaros cantores
  8. Buzón
  9. Insectos pequeños
  10. Drenaje pluvial

Cosas para limpiar

  1. Bolsas para refrigerios o envoltorios de dulces
  2. Tazas o tapas
  3. Utensilios plásticos
  4. Colillas de cigarrillo
  5. Botellas de vidrio
  6. Latas de aluminio
  7. Latas de refresco
  8. Globos
  9. Bolsas plásticas
  10. Piezas de plástico

Cosas a evitar: objetos afilados, objetos pesados. Si encuentras algo que debe ser recogido por funcionarios de la ciudad, llama al 311 para informar.

Más formas de involucrarte

  • Conviértete en voluntario de Heal the Bay y asiste a nuestra Orientación virtual para voluntarios Volunteer Orientation en este Mes de la Tierra.
  • Regístrate para nuestras limpiezas de playa beach cleanups este verano.
  • Guarda la fecha Coastal Cleanup Month 2020. 
  • Haz un regalo del Día de la Tierra para mejorar la bahía y dona Donate.