December 12, Saturday.
The EarthTeam interns from Alameda High organized and held a beach cleanup event across from McDonalds on Southshore. Cigarette butts, bottles, bubble wraps, plastic pieces. These were only a part of a long list of things from an just hour of cleaning the beach. But looking back, the event took weeks of planning and brainstorming. It wasn’t just a one-day experience.
A few weeks back, we learned about backwards planning, in which we identify our goal first, then the procedure to achieve it, then the materials needed in implementing the plan.
So following that method, we set our goal as “increasing the student body’s environmental awareness” and such. Then we split into four groups – Business Outreach, School Event Planners, Posters and Video groups – and formulated plans to achieve our goal. The event group proposed a beach cleanup competition in which groups win according to how much, both in quality and quantity, they do on the event. The business outreach group came up with possible prizes to give out, like water bottles, as an incentive to encourage volunteers to participate and give it their all. The video group started taping video interviews of Alameda High School students regarding the environment and on how litter causes harm to animals and the marine biodiversity. The posters group brainstormed for designs and ideas to involve the student community through simple yet effective posters. Each group identified the materials needed to do their projects.
As for the event, we planned a rough outline of the program the week before. It turned out to be something like this:
10:00 – Start surveys (Alice)
10:10 – Icebreaker (Ngoc)
10:20 – Marine Animal Lesson (Michelle and Quincy)
10:35 – Introduction to litter pickup and safety talk (Sarah)
10:40 – Begin Litter Pickup
11:00 – Break and check data collection procedures
11:45 – Return, reflect, fill out post-surveys
Of course, this is only a guideline for the program.
The interns publicized the event through in-class announcements with the help of teachers and other faculty members. The event was publicly announced on Schoolloop as well.
Here are some samples the fliers that the interns made:
Beach Cleanup event
The weather was perfect. It rained hard in Alameda two days before so we were concerned about the possible lack of litter on Saturday, the day of the event. At first I thought that there weren’t going to be that much volunteers and that we were not going to do much work that day anyway. Or so I thought.
The turnout was great! Including the EarthTeam interns, we gathered more or less 30 people for the event.
The program started with some icebreakers to get the volunteers warmed up.
Quincy and Michelle gave an informative lecture about the relationship between litter and animals, giving the volunteers a detailed explanation how they would be helping these animals by cleaning up the beach. They featured photographs of these animals and had the volunteers take a moment to look at each.
To end the event, we reflected on what we expected and what we learned. Surprisingly, there were still a lot of trash present even after the rain days before.
We had a meeting the next Tuesday and talked about the things we learned from the event on Saturday. Devin, our campus coordinator, showed us that we collected about 2000 pieces of litter within just about an hour! We looked at the feedback collected from the volunteers then we evaluated how we could improve our program.
Some volunteers were confused with the feedback survey questions, so we ought to simplify them for next time.
Publicizing the event within a short period of time was a challenge, too. But fortunately, the student body caught on the news by word of mouth. In some classes, teachers advertised the event for community service opportunities. Alameda High School truly has a connected teacher-student community, which helped us with broadcasting our event.
We noted how the volunteers are less inclined to participate actively in the discussions, either because it was on a morning or the cleanup process itself was exhausting. So maybe next time we would give incentives after all, aside from the community service hours and extra credit in the AP Environment Science classes.
Nevertheless, each of us did a good job. And the EarthTeam is so proud of everyone who supports our hard work and effort in achieving our goal, one step at a time.
Good job everyone!