Morro Coast Audubon teaching children the importance of healthy oceans

One of the winning art signs installed at Montana de Oro State Park. Photo by Andrea Jones.

Morro Coast Audubon Society (MCAS) initiated an innovative project over the past year to educate the local residents around Morro Bay about marine debris -- any litter that poses a threat to the ocean ecosystem when it enters the current -- and the potential harmful impacts on coastal wildlife.

MCAS created “A Healthy Sea Begins With Me” for their local schools. Volunteers presented to hundreds of local students and taught them about the cause, effects, and solutions surrounding marine debris.  Students were asked to create educational paintings that demonstrated what they learned. With funding provided by the Morro Bay National Estuary Program's Community Grant, MCAS produced hard plastic and weather proof signs using twelve of the children's pieces. These are now displayed along central coast beaches reminding visitors about the importance of keeping the beach trash-free.  Signs were installed this September on Coastal Cleanup Day.

Lauri Jasprica Graham, Education Chair with MCAS, presenting winning signs to California State Parks at Coastal Cleanup Day. Photo by Andrea Jones.

How YOU Can Help! (from NOAA website)

  • No matter how close to or far from the ocean, you can contribute to the solution!
  • Get involved! Participate in beach or stream cleanups in your area!
  • Dispose of your trash properly!
  • Remember that our land and sea are connected. Trash that enters streams or rivers eventually makes its way to the ocean.
  • Reduce the amount of waste you produce.
  • Reuse items whenever possible! Chose reusable items over disposable ones!
  • Recycle as much as possible! Bottles, cans, bags, cell phones, and many other items can be recycled.
  • Recycle your fishing line or throw it away in the proper place!

    Two of the young artists whose paintings were made into signs. Photo by Andrea Jones.

MCAS thanks the following schools and partners for their support and participation: Cayucos Middle School; San Gabriel Elementary School, Atascadero; Children’s Montessori of San Luis Obispo; Virginia Peterson Elementary School, Paso Robles; Morro Bay National Estuary Program; City of Morro Bay; California State Parks.

For more information and educational materials, go to:

How you can help, right now