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Heal the Bay Blog

Recent school closures mean many students are not getting the daily education they need. While we all should be practicing physical distancing at this time, we also need to put our brainpower and creative energy to good use and innovate to give students more opportunities to keep learning remotely.

Heal the Bay is responding with a new interactive science education series “Knowledge Drops”, where our team of scientists, experts, and advocates explores the water world and offers fun lessons about the marine environment. Each session is about 1-hour long and includes a live presentation, Q&A, polls, and videos. Our new webinar series is generally geared for 3rd – 8th grade students, but all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend!

RSVP to Upcoming “Knowledge Drops”:

See past recorded sessions below in Resources.

3/18 @ 1:30pm PDT – SEWAGE 💩
3/20 @ 1:30pm PDT – KNOW THE FLOW 💦
3/23 @ 1:30pm PDT – MARVELOUS MOLLUSKS 🐙
3/25 @ 1:30pm PDT – STORM DRAINS 🌧
3/27 @ 1:30pm PDT – MARINE PROTECTED AREAS 🌊
3/30 @ 1:30pm PDT – MARINE ANIMALS 🐟
4/1 @ 1:30pm PDT – BEACH REPORT CARD 📈
4/3 @ 1:30pm PDT – PLASTICS 🥤

If you are a teacher with a topic suggestion, please contact us with your idea.

Resources:

All previously recorded “Knowledge Drops” are posted here as an ongoing marine science education repository for you to access. (To view the webinar recordings please visit the ‘gotowebinar’ links below and enter in your contact information. We will only use your email address to update you about upcoming “Knowledge Drops” and you can opt out at any time.)

Knowledge Drops: The Sewage System

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4060559519187745537

More Information:

Knowledge Drops: Know the Flow

Recorded Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3731720880131676929

More Information:

Knowledge Drops: Marvelous Mollusks

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/1113287814740681997

More Information:

Knowledge Drops: Storm Drains

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3714805993360585228

More Information:

Knowledge Drops: Marine Protected Areas

Recorded Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6774566533598479118

More Information:


Activity Guides



See Shelley Luce, Heal the Bay CEO, do a beach cleanup with her family in between rainstorms on Monday, March 16, 2020.

UPDATE: In light of LA’s Safer At Home order, and the recent news about overcrowding on trails and beaches, we urge you to postpone your solo beach cleanup plans until this order has been lifted. Thank you.

Are you practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 response? Yes? Good! If you are looking for something productive to do, to get out of the house while still protecting your wellbeing and the health of others, we recommend doing a cleanup. We believe it is healthy to be outside volunteering, just not together in large groups at this time. So get ready for a dose of fresh air, fill up your reusable water bottle, and follow these instructions on how to do a cleanup.

It’s important to do cleanups, especially now, because the much-needed #LArain we are experiencing has created a surge in runoff and pollution in our neighborhoods, parks and beaches. The majority of waste that ends up in the environment is plastic, which harms wildlife, natural habitats, and public health. The good news: we can all clean up this trash at any time!

Nearly 80 percent of pollution in our marine environment comes from the land. Runoff from more than 200,000 storm drains on L.A. streets flows out to the Pacific Ocean causing the majority of local ocean pollution. By removing tons of pollution from neighborhoods and parks, in addition to beaches and waterways, cleanup participants reduce blight, protect animals, and boost the regional economy.

Here are helpful instructions on how to do a cleanup AND contribute to Heal the Bay’s ever-growing database of over 4,000,000 pieces of trash and debris from the last couple of decades in Los Angeles County, California. We use this trashy data to help inform public policy decision-making and aid businesses and organizations in adopting best practices.

Cleanup Instructions

1. Watch our Cleanup Safety Video or read our Cleanup Safety Talk (we follow this brief outline of safety tips and related topics to give talks before our group cleanups, not all of it will apply to your individual cleanup). This required viewing will help you determine what to do if you find a sharp needle (Don’t pick it up! Report it) and if lightning strikes (head inside immediately!) or how to avoid sneaker waves if you’re doing your cleanup at the beach.

2. Download our Cleanup Data Card (print it and bring the Data Card with you to your cleanup along with a pencil) or track the trash you collect with either the Marine Debris Tracker App.

3. Grab a reusable bucket and a pair of gardening gloves (or at least one glove for the hand you use to pick up trash) and head outside. You can do a cleanup for 15 minutes or an hour – whatever your preference is, please always prioritize safety first!

4. Don’t forget to post your cleanup pics and results on social media using the hashtag #healthebay and tagging us @healthebay. We can’t wait to see your trashy finds and give you well-deserved kudos for volunteering to protect the outdoor places we all cherish.


Learning Resources

Now that you’ve done a cleanup, here are some resources to learn more about the pollution we commonly find at cleanups, and how to prevent it from winding up there.



To do our part in reducing the spread of COVID-19, Heal the Bay is following guidelines from the Los Angeles County Department of Health and suspending all public programs, including programming at Heal the Bay Aquarium effective immediately. Heal the Bay Aquarium is temporarily closed and all Heal the Bay public program activities are suspended through April 30, 2020 or until further notice to accommodate physical distancing and help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The health and safety of our supporters, partners, staff, and community-at-large are our top priority. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will abide by any recommendations from our local health agencies and the WHO. We urge you to follow LA’s Safer At Home order at this time to help #FlattenTheCurve and save lives.

Suspended public programs include: Speakers Bureau, Beach Cleanups (Nothin’ But Sand, Suits on the Sand & Adopt-A-Beach), Angler Outreach Program, Wednesday Volunteers, Marine Protected Area Watch as well as Heal the Bay Aquarium (Birthday Parties, Field Trips, public hours & special events).

We plan to re-open our Aquarium to the public on May 1, 2020, and will provide updates as new information becomes available. Our Aquarium staff will remain working at our facility to provide care for the animals and conduct maintenance. Heal the Bay staff will work remotely and in the main office during this time.

For the health and well-being of all, please take proper precautions to limit the spread of illness. Please follow these guidelines:

  • Please stay home if you feel sick and/or have a fever, cough or shortness of breath.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. (If a tissue is unavailable, use your upper sleeve or inside your bent elbow.)
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Make frequent use of hand sanitizer if available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Follow all directives and guidelines by your health care provider.
  • Get a flu shot to prevent influenza if you have not done so this season.

For more information, visit Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and view the LA Mayor’s Directive about COVID-19 LA City Guidelines.

If you have any questions, please Contact Us. If you are looking for marine science education resources, check out Knowledge Drops.



We’re celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month by shining the spotlight on five environmentalists who inspire us.

Women of color are impacted by environmental issues like water pollution and climate change impacts at disproportionate rates as a result of systemic inequity and injustice.1 Racism and a lack of access to education, economic status, and health resources often leave women and people of color out of the conversations and decisions that impact them the most, specifically about land use, natural resources, and environmental policy.

Despite these challenges, women of color continue to create powerful and lasting change in their own communities and abroad.

We thank the environmentalists and activists who continue to fight for what is right despite facing opposition for their bold ideas and for simply being who they are. Women and girls are leaders in their communities and agents of change. Supporting and listening to them will benefit the health of our planet and people for generations to come.

Get to know five environmentalists who have an inspiring legacy of activism.

Wangari Maathai (1940 – 2011), Kenya

Founder of the Green Belt Movement, which has planted over 51 million trees, Professor Maathai focused on environmental conservation and women’s rights. She studied biology in her undergraduate and graduate school programs and later won the Nobel Peace Prize for her vast contributions to sustainable development.

 

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Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores (1971 – 2016), Honduras

Berta Cáceres was an indigenous environmental justice activist and grassroots leader who created the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH) in Honduras. She fought courageously against illegal and harmful mining and logging as well as the construction of a dam that would cut off water, food and medicine for the indigenous Lenca people. Cáceres Flores was tragically murdered in 2016, sparking international outrage. The Cáceres family continues to demand justice for this corrupt violation of human rights. 2

 

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Isatou Ceesay (b. 1972), The Gambia

Isatou Ceesay is known as the Queen of Recycling in The Gambia, and rightfully so. Though she was kept from finishing school, she created the Njai Recycling and Income Generation Group, which turns plastic bag waste into purses, creating revenue streams for local women. Ceesay also educates and empowers women through environmental advocacy.

 

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Winona LaDuke (b. 1959), White Earth Indian Reservation

Founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project and Honor the Earth, LaDuke is an environmentalist and political activist with Indigenous communities. She focuses on sustainable development, renewable energy, climate change, and environmental justice. The White Earth Land Recovery Project is one of the largest non-profit organizations in the United States dedicated to recovering original land and maintaining tribal food, water, and energy rights. Follow Winona on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Vanessa Nakate (b. 1996), Uganda

Vanessa Nakate founded The Rise Up Movement and uses her voice and platform to share stories about activists in Africa who are striking due to inaction against the climate crisis. Recently, she spoke at the COP25 event in Spain (the United Nations Climate Change Conference) and joined dozens of youth climate activists from around the world to publish a letter to attendees of the World Economic Forum in Davos urging them to take immediate steps to prevent further harm. Follow Vanessa on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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About the author: Mariana Estrada is a digital advocacy intern at Heal the Bay. She grew up in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles where she enjoys a lively community of close-knit families and great food. She became interested in environmental issues like air quality at an unusually young age due to living in the city. Estrada’s area of focus is combining humanities and environmental issues to create effective and meaningful storytelling that renders real results. She studies English Literature and double-minors in Environmental Systems and Society and Environmental Engineering at UCLA.

1 Gender and climate change-induced migration: Proposing a framework for analysis. Author Namrata Chindarkar. Published by School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park, USA. Published on 22 June 2012. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254496452_Gender_and_climate_change-induced_migration_Proposing_a_framework_for_analysis
2 Berta Cáceres: 2015 Goldman Prize Recipient South and Central America. Published by The Goldman Environmental Prize. Retrieved from https://www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/berta-caceres/



We recently honored 24 individuals at our annual Volunteer Party. Our Super Healers are a passionate group of Heal the Bay volunteers who went above and beyond in the past year with their dedication to the conservation of our coastal waters and watersheds. We could not continue our mission without their unique and exceptional contributions. A huge thank you to all of our volunteers!

From the “Thank You Volunteers” spelled out in donuts to the video game corner to the funky photo booth, this year’s donut-themed celebration was certainly sweet.

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In addition to a whopping 22 Super Healer Volunteer Awards, this year we also awarded 1 Jean Howell Award and 1 Bob Hertz Award. The Jean Howell Award is for a volunteer who has been recognized as a Super Healer in the past and is deserving of more praise. A Bob Hertz Award is our lifetime volunteer service award and is given to volunteers who have demonstrated unwavering commitment and extraordinary service year after year.

Thank you to Bodega Wine Bar for hosting us, and to the following organizations for their support: DK’s Donuts, Astro Doughnuts, Geffen Playhouse Theater, Manhattan Stitching Company, California Science Center, Pacific Park, Patagonia, and MaCher.

Meet last year’s Super Healers.

Become a Heal the Bay Volunteer



 

We’re tackling the biggest threats to the Bay by harnessing The Power of Water in 2020. The following three goals represent our key areas of focus this year:

 

Sound the Alarm for Climate Action

What we’re doing: Mitigating the life-altering impacts of climate change by empowering people to make smart choices now to create a sustainable and equitable future.

How we’re doing it: Water is where many will feel climate impacts first: water reliability in a changing climate is paramount. We are scrutinizing the City of LA’s plans for reusing wastewater as well as local projects to capture stormwater, to ensure they are equitable, effective and sustainable. At Heal the Bay Aquarium and events we are engaging the public to take daily actions — like extending Meatless Monday to One Meal a Day for the Ocean — to help mitigate the extremes of warming temperatures, ocean acidification and sea level rise.


Protect Public Health with Strong Science and Outreach

What we’re doing: Protecting people’s health through science-based education and outreach on contaminated water and fish at LA beaches and rivers.

How we’re doing it: We are expanding the reach and scientific rigor of our Beach Report Card, River Report Card and Angler Outreach programs to increase community and agency engagement on issues that directly affect public health. Our focus is on pollution, access, recreational use and fish consumption. We are also advocating for strong water quality protections and better public awareness tools to inform the most impacted communities.


Ban Single-Use Plastic for Good

What we’re doing: Eliminating harmful plastic waste from our beaches and waterways, and restoring the vibrancy of our ocean and watersheds.

How we’re doing it: A dramatic shift away from single-use plastics is needed because less than 10% of plastic waste is recycled and the rest winds up in landfills and the natural environment. Alongside a coalition of NGOs we are helping to establish “Reusable LA”, a new campaign to build a thriving culture of reuse and refill in LA County, encouraging people and businesses to go plastic-free and support new policies that ban disposable plastics in LA County and statewide.


Get Involved

Volunteer With Us

Take Part in a Beach Cleanup

Visit Our Aquarium

Donate


Ver En Español



 

Nos enfrentamos a las mayores amenazas para la bahía utilizando El Poder del Agua en 2020. Los siguientes tres objetivos son las áreas clave para este año:

 

Grito de alarma por el cambio climático

Qué estamos haciendo: Mitigando los impactos del cambio climático que alteran la vida empoderando a los ciudadanos a tomar mejores decisiones para crear un futuro sostenible y equitativo.

Cómo lo estamos haciendo: El agua es el área donde muchos notarán primero los efectos del cambio climático: la accesibilidad del agua en un clima cambiante es fundamental.

Examinamos detalladamente los planes de reutilización de aguas residuales de la ciudad de L.A., así como proyectos locales de captación de agua lluvia, para asegurarnos de que sean justos y efectivos. Y en el Acuario de Heal the Bay involucramos al público para tomar acciones diarias — como nuestra iniciativa “Una comida al día por el océano” — para mitigar las temperaturas extremas, la acidificación de los océanos y el aumento del nivel del mar.


Proteger la salud pública con programas de educación científica y comunitaria

Qué estamos haciendo: Protegiendo la salud pública a través de programas de educación científica y comunitaria sobre pesca y aguas contaminadas en playas y ríos de LA.

Cómo lo estamos haciendo: Extendiendo el alcance y rigor científico de nuestros programas como “Informe de playas”, “Informe de ríos” y “Educación pesquera” (Beach Report Card, River Report Card y Angler Outreach, por sus siglas en ingles) para incrementar el compromiso comunitario e institucional en temas que afectan directamente a la salud pública. Nuestro enfoque es en la contaminación, acceso, uso recreacional y consumo de pescado. Abogamos también por fuertes protecciones de calidad de agua y para mejorar las herramientas de concientización pública en las comunidades más afectadas.


Prohibir definitivamente el plástico de un solo uso

Qué estamos haciendo: Eliminando los desechos plásticos nocivos de nuestras playas y sistemas fluviales y restaurando la vitalidad de nuestro océano y cuencas hidrográficas.

Cómo lo estamos haciendo: Se necesita un cambio drástico en el uso del plástico de un solo uso porque menos del 10% es reciclado y el resto acaba en vertederos y entornos naturales. Estamos estableciendo una nueva campaña llamada “LA reutilizable” para fomentar una próspera cultura de reutilización y recarga en el condado de L.A., alentando de esta forma a la gente y negocios a no usar plástico y apoyar políticas que prohíban los plásticos desechables en el condado de LA y en todo California.


Únete

Haz voluntariado con nosotross

Contribuye a limpiar una playa

Visita nuestro Acuario

Dona

 


Este artículo fue traducido por Beatriz Lorenzo Botella y editado por Frankie Orrala.

View in English



Surfrider Beach Third Point, Malibu. Photo by The California Coastal Commission 

On January 10-12 and February 8-9, 2020, head to the beach during the King Tides to catch a glimpse of what our future coast will look like with sea level rise.

King Tides occur when the sun and moon align to exert the greatest gravitational pull on Earth, resulting in the most extreme high and low tides of the year. In California, experts say that King Tides today are what we can expect our daily high tide to look like in the next few decades under climate change and sea level rise predictions.

For many people, it’s hard to see everyday impacts of climate change locally and difficult to understand real-life impacts that are here or coming. King Tides give us the opportunity to visualize firsthand what a higher sea level will be like. This is also an opportunity to get involved as a community scientist, document the King Tides through photos, and use #KingTides. These photos can be used by scientists, government agencies, and decision makers to understand, plan for, and educate about climate change impacts.

There are actions that we can all take today to minimize and prepare for coming climate change impacts. For instance, individuals can reduce their carbon footprint by driving less, adopting a plant-based diet, and demanding action from elected officials. Individuals and agencies can support and advocate for restoration of coastal wetlands, such as the Ballona Wetlands, which sequester carbon and buffer communities from sea level rise and storm surges. And governments can update their Local Coastal Programs (a planning document to guide development) to plan for sea level rise and climate change.

You can even participate in the University of Southern California Sea Grant beach walk on February 7 in Manhattan Beach, Ocean Institute’s nature walks on February 8 and 9 at 10:30am in Dana Point, City of Oceanside’s observation and discussion of King Tides on February 9 at 8:30am, or check out other local King Tides events.

Want to learn more about climate change? Request a speaker from Heal the Bay to give a climate change presentation to your school, club, or group.

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Mother's Beach, Marina del Rey 2019. Photo by The California Coastal Commission

Helpful resources for King Tides:

Learn about the King Tides Project in California: https://www.coastal.ca.gov/kingtides/

Find out what time the King Tides will be near you:
https://www.coastal.ca.gov/kingtides/participate.html#tidemap

See how to participate by uploading your photos via a web browser or app:
https://www.coastal.ca.gov/kingtides/participate.html

Check out last year’s photos on this interactive map:
https://coastalcomm.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=5e77d399c4204a59afe895ff3b91b5e0



Every year, our Aquarium celebrates its love for whales – just in time to mark the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale.

Pacific gray whales undergo a gargantuan 10,000-mile roundtrip journey between the Arctic and Mexico each year. These gentle giants breed and give birth in the warm Baja waters in late fall/early winter before heading back north with their calves around February. The migration takes the whales through the Santa Monica Bay – sometimes close enough to be spotted from the West end of the Pier.

Make sure to stop by for Whale of a Weekend on February 15-16 at Heal the Bay Aquarium (and don’t forget to celebrate World Whale Day on Feb. 15). From baleen to blubber, you’ll leave with a ton of knowledge. Be sure to take a look through our binoculars from the observation deck; you might just spy a whale!

Our Top Ten Facts About Whales

  1. Whales only breathe through their blowholes – they can’t breathe through their mouths.
  2. There are two categories of cetaceans (whales): those with teeth and those without.
  3. Toothless whales, called baleen whales, include the Pacific gray whale, blue, humpback, fin, and right whales.
  4. Toothed whales include orcas, belugas, dolphins, narwhals, porpoises and sperm whales.
  5. Nearly 90% of all cetaceans are toothed whales.
  6. Baleen whales are the largest mammals on earth but they eat some of the smallest creatures in the ocean: tiny zooplankton.
  7. Baleen whales have two spout openings (like having two nostril openings).
  8. Toothed whales only have one spout opening.
  9. Narwhals actually only have two teeth. One of those teeth is the large spiral shaped ivory tusk that develops through their upper lip.
  10. When baleen whales blow air out of their spout, it creates a spray that sometimes comes out heart-shaped.



From e-scooters to aerial art and more, feast your eyes on some epic highlights from a busy year. Alex Choy, Heal the Bay’s Communications Manager, lists our most-engaged Instagram posts from Heal the Bay’s Instagram account in 2019. 

 

As the manager of our social media channels, I get to see incredible events, people and ideas and follow exciting journeys in the environmental movement and beyond. It’s quite an experience to be directly connected with so many members of our community and watch their stories first-hand. Here are some amazing posts that our Instagram community loved in 2019. Enjoy!

 

A glimpse of some fun aerial beach art for Kids Ocean Day! View on IG


A sneak peek of Heal the Bay’s feature on an NCIS: Los Angeles episode. View on IG


All the electric scooters our Coastal Cleanup Day dive volunteers removed from under the Santa Monica Pier. View on IG


Coastal Cleanup Day happening all across LA County! View on IG

4 Coastal Cleanup Day LA County


We love to highlight neat, innovative, and local projects, like this one where ByFusion turned plastic and recycled surfboard foam into a lifeguard tower. View on IG

ByFusion


A few of the incredible dive volunteers that took part in Coastal Cleanup Day hauling this 20-foot, 250-pound industrial ladder from the water. View on IG

Coastal Cleanup Day Divers


An inside look into Santa Monica’s Recycling Center (now closed), and opportunity to sign our Plastic Petition for Earth Month. View on IG

Santa Monica’s Recycling Center


Inspiring awe and some whimsy with this springtime “sea bunny”! View on IG

Sea Hare


Follow @healthebay on Instagram and tag us with #HealtheBay!