The average San Diegan creates about six pounds of trash per day, according to data from the Equniox Center—and last year alone, 5,500 pounds of that garbage ended up on our local beaches, Those trends, unfortunately, appear to be on the rise.
Given the facts, it’s easy to fret about the future of our coastline. But there’s a glimmer of hope that Encinitas beaches will be left in good hands—seven sets of small good hands, to be exact.
Seven 5th-grade girls from Flora Vista Elementary are on a mission to help preserve Encinitas beaches. They’ve been working on the project since October, which is part of Destination Imagination (DI), a competition that challenges kids to solve real world problems with creative solutions. The girls recently cleaned Moonlight Beach and removed 50 pounds of trash, which they used to build a sculpture. They also researched ocean conservation and created an educational skit about it. They even launched an outreach campaign in Encinitas, complete with a website and blog.
Their efforts have paid off. The girls recently won the DI state championship title for their division, something that’s never happened at Flora Vista. The Encinitas girls will now head to the Global Finals in Knoxville, TN, where they will compete against top teams from all over the world during a four-day tournament May 23 to 26.
Heading into Global Finals, the girls are optimistic and especially excited to tell the world about their Encinitas beach project, said Collette Murphy, a parent to one of the teammates.
“We hope the public is inspired by the girls’ creativity and ingenuity as well as their dedication, and that they clean up their trash from the beach,” she adds.
Teammates include: Bridget Brightfield, Lucy Stefanko, Katie Prince, Torrey Platenberg, Christina Tarangelo, Ashley Bartlett, and Jordan Feffer. Though they’ve crossed paths in school, sports and other community groups, this DI competition provided the girls a chance to work together in a completely new way, Murphy says.
“The most amazing thing about DI is the real-life lessons the kids learn. They think for themselves, push their imaginations, prepare for potential problems and sometimes deal with real unforeseen ones—all without adult interference,” she says. “They also figure out how to resolve conflicts with different personalities, as well as appreciate each others’ strengths while helping to bolster their weaknesses. I think most adults could benefit from it.”
If you’d like to help, the girls have a couple of fundraisers coming up in Encinitas. They’ll be having a bake sale during the Moonlight Beach Surf Faire on Saturday, May 5, so keep an eye out for their booth. They’ll be hosting fundraising nights at on May 10, and Souplantation on May 16. They’re also organizing a drawing with prizes that include a custom surfboard, an iPad and a Target gift card. A complete list of their events and fundraising efforts is available on their website www.beachtrashban.com.