Kids Take Action and Replace Disposable Cups at Their School

 In Explore Ecology

Lauren Thal cares about kids and the environment. A longtime participant in our Flows to the Ocean (FTO) Marine Debris Prevention program, Lauren is a 4th grade teacher at Franklin Elementary.  After learning about watersheds, waste reduction, and how plastic trash impacts sea life and ocean health, Lauren’s class decided to tackle the issue of disposable plastic cups at their school. They were shocked to learn that over 1,000 cups were used and disposed of every day!  As their year end project, Laurens’ class raised money to purchase a dishwasher and durable cups for the cafeteria.

Thal students

A Smart Choice- Reusable Cups Instead of Disposable

Lauren is now being honored for this major achievement with the City of Santa Barbara’s  Spirit of Service Award. Lauren says,”I was nominated for making an environmental impact on kids. I think we should try and make this a model for all elementary schools. All they need is a dishwasher and cups!”

thal students 3

Students in Action

Flows To The Ocean (FTO) is a year long program that educates students about litter’s impact on the ocean.  Since an estimated 80-85% of marine debris comes from the land, FTO students learn how their actions on land affect our waterways.

FTO consists of the Creek Kids Series which is two in class lessons and a field trip to the Watershed Resource Center and a local creek. These are followed by an Waste Reduction class.  The FTO program culminates in a trip to Santa Cruz Island where students conduct a beach clean up, go on hikes, and learn how plastic litter is affecting wildlife.

FTO Students on Santa Cruz Island

FTO Students on Santa Cruz Island

Each class that participates in FTO is required to do a project that focuses on reducing marine debris by teaching others how to replace disposable plastic products with durable items.

If you’d like to support these young environmentalists on their quest to make the ocean a cleaner place join us for free pizza and ice cream, at this year’s Flows To The Ocean Family Night on Wednesday May 20th at the Watershed Resource Center at Arroyo Burro Beach.

To learn more about the Lauren’s project, click here>

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