Protect Our Ocean.
Teach and Test is a program that involves grade school students in citizen science. Students participate in two ways: Project 1 involves monitoring bacteria levels in the ocean, and Project 2 involves waste characterization. Both of these projects were created by and are facilitated by the Surfrider Foundation South Bay Chapter and Research Scientists. Students participate during class, during clubs and in the research facility at a local Laboratory.
Project 1. Teach and Test: Water Quality Monitoring, Blue Water Task Force
Students monitor water for bacterial levels on a bi-weekly basis during to school year. They collect samples at more than a dozen coastal locations, then take the samples back to the lab, perform serial dilutions and culture the bacteria to moniter the levels of coliform bacterial in the ocean. The data the students collect is posted on the web for anyone to access.
Project 2. Waste Characterization, Rise Above Plastics
As part of the Rise Above Plastics campaign, Surfrider volunteer Alan Walti and local scientist Mary Simun teamed up with students at Redondo Union High School to conduct a Waste Characterization Study. Trash is collected at the beach near a storm drain outflow into the ocean, then sorted in the lab to determine the identities of the components and their sources. The ultimate goal is reduce the amount of trash entering the environment and to prevent the re-accumulation of trash on our beaches.
Local divers routinely "rescue" trash from the ocean floor. Much of the trash we create that ends up polluting the environment is out of sight and out of mind. Following a sand replacement project in 2013 in Redondo Beach the problem was significantly amplified.
Project 3. Expansion of Programs 1 and 2
With additional funding, volunteers, and school participation (including teachers and students), the goal is to expand the program to cover additional waterways and sites and expand to collect and sort trash from additional locations in the South Bay. This information will be posted on the Surfrider.org page. These programs are designed to serve as models to allow other communities to characterize waste on the shore and protect the ocean from the continued accumulation of waste, as well as to improve water quality.