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600 SF students join forces to clean up Ocean Beach

Sarah Ravani | May 17, 2017 | SF Gate

Original article

Nearly 600 students from seven San Francisco elementary schools fanned out at Ocean Beach on Wednesday, wearing plastic gloves, toting trash bags and hunting for anything yucky.

In a field trip with a positive environmental twist, the second and third graders participated in the 24th annual “Kids Ocean Day Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup.”

For more than two hours, the children combed the beach for Styrofoam, discarded paper wrappers, tin cans and any other pieces of garbage marring the beach.

Though many got bored and abandoned their quest for trash to build sand castles and dig holes, the students get the gist of a statewide effort to educate them on how littering can have a bad effect on nature.

“For most of the students, they’ve never been to the ocean, which is kind of mind-blowing. It’s always amazing the amount of children that have not been out here or the amount of children who don’t understand how the trash gets here,” said Tiff Murzi-Moyce, a spokeswoman for the Marine Science Institute, which organized the event.

Students ran in small groups, rolling in the sand, squealing, as they dug their hands into the damp beachfront.

“Rocks are not trash,” one of the chaperones yelled.

Five kids from Alamo Elementary School in the Richmond District squatted in the sand at least 20 feet from the water.

Kristina Kalinovski, a 7-year-old second-grader, wore a pink “San Fran” hat as she dug furiously into the sand.

“We are trying to reach the water. Maybe there will be some trash there,” Kristina said, holding a near-empty trash bag.

“We found a lot of things, mostly crab shells,” Kristina said.

As some kids continued scavenging for debris and others basked in the sun, 8-year-old Natalie Kurpuis waited patiently for the end of the field trip when she and the others gathered in the formation of a sea creature, and posed for an aerial photo while holding a sign reading, “Come Together.”

The design was inspired by Natalie’s drawing of a starfish, which won the San Francisco Kids Ocean Day Art Contest.

“I was really surprised, but really happy,” Natalie said of her winning drawing. “I think it’s interesting how (sea stars) can regrow their body parts and how they can coordinate their tube feet — that’s the little thingies they use to move apparently.”

Though Natalie chose to draw a starfish, she said her favorite marine animal is the sea otter.

“I just think they’re super, super cute,” she said.

Page updated on 05/17/17