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NOAA Attends One Cool Earth Watershed Week for California Students

FEB. 26, 2024 — On February 13, the NOAA Marine Debris Program participated in One Cool Earth Watershed Week at Santa Rosa Academic Academy. Students, educators, and a staff member from the office of United States Representative Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) joined to celebrate. This week-long event was a cross-school campaign to promote watershed messaging and display the connection between Central California watersheds and the Pacific Ocean.

Students gathered around One Cool Earth Educator to learn about pollution in the local San Luis Obispo watershed and Morro Bay.
One Cool Earth Educator teaches about pollution in the local San Luis Obispo watershed and Morro Bay.

For the first year, One Cool Earth is leading Watershed Week in various elementary schools across San Luis Obispo that will include activities and curriculum to help students learn about their local environment, as well as watersheds and their impact on the Morro Bay Estuary. These activities were funded in part by the NOAA Marine Debris Program prevention grant. 

During the visit, the Marine Debris Program’s California Regional Coordinator, Christy Kehoe, and partners met with outdoor environmental educators and first-grade students to learn about the school’s zero waste practices.  Activities included a garden tour and a lesson on pollution, and how trash travels via watershed. Students learned about how disposed plastic products, like lunch food items, can be blown into the nearby Salinas River and may eventually make it to the Pacific Ocean. 

Project partners are working with school district decision-makers in food services, facilities, and administration to support litter prevention practices such as food composting systems, waste sorting stations, water-bottle filling stations, and improved bin placement. Further, schools are encouraged to look into purchasing environmentally conscious food packaging and school materials, as well as hosting campus cleanups. The project is working to empower students in underserved regions to address marine debris, institutionalize zero-waste practices in schools, and train and support teachers.

Over the next year, One Cool Earth will continue to build out its alliance of partners across the Central Coast of California to incorporate marine debris reduction activities in schools and empower youth to change their waste disposal behaviors. For more information, check out the NOAA MDP project profile

Last updated Friday, March 1, 2024 9:16am PST