Santa Catalina has received a $4,000 Ocean Guardian Grant to help promote ocean conservation and reduce the amount of singe-use plastics on campus.
The grant, awarded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was a joint effort of Lower and Middle School science teacher Kelly Miller and Upper School science teacher Lisa Marrack. The money will fund projects in both schools.
In the Lower and Middle School, reducing plastics has become a theme of grade 6, with students performing audits of plastic use on campus and participating in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit.
Both schools will educate the Catalina community about the effects of plastics on our local ecosystems through classroom presentations, a screening of the documentary A Plastic Ocean, and other efforts. Their goal is to decrease the use of single-use water bottles, straws, sandwich bags, and cups on campus. Bon Appétit, the schools' in-house food service provider, has already stopped carrying plastic straws.
Students will also determine the prevalence of plastics on local beaches and watersheds, with part of the grant going toward equipment to test for microplastics in sand. Both schools will continue to restore local dunes by removing invasive plants and replacing them with native, drought-resistant species.
At the end of the year, Santa Catalina has the chance to be designated as an Ocean Guardian School. Catalina was last named an Ocean Guardian School in the 2013-14 school year.