Earth Alert Academy Perspective from
by Harlene Stanley, ITEP Program Manager
The students and staff from the ITEP Earth Alert Academy at San Pedro High School, celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day 2010 in April, with major on and off-campus events that generated interest and awareness for the “Green Generation.” More than ever before, young people are getting involved in taking steps in their schools, homes and neighborhoods to protect the environment by recycling plastic bottles and aluminum cans, volunteering for coastal clean-ups, and exploring the possibility of entering into green jobs and careers in the future.
To celebrate this event, 40 San Pedro academy students were able to tour the US Coast Guard Base on Terminal Island and discover how the Coast Guard not only actively participates in search and rescue efforts, but also in the protection of natural resources by eliminating environmental damage associated with maritime transportation, fishing, and recreational boating. Recent news about Coast Guard efforts to clean up the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico highlight the determination these men and women have when it comes to caring for the environment.
Earth Alert students were also able to visit SA Recycling to see how scrap metal is recycled, as well as how automobiles are broken down and recycled. Students were able to see up-close that recycling helps to protect our natural environment and save precious resources. SA Recycling has also joined forces with the Earth Alert Academy to set up an on-campus recycling fundraising program for plastic bottles and aluminum cans – definitely taking steps in the right direction.
Other on-campus events included the exhibition of the Los Angeles PORT Mobile TransPORTer, a 53-foot fully-contained, mobile exhibit featuring exciting, hands-on activities for students. Telling the story of the Port of Los Angeles, the TransPORTer exhibit featured interactive displays focusing on the history, jobs, cargo, equipment, environmental programs and future of the nation’s number one container port.
Guest Speakers from local organizations included Mike Schaadt, Marine Aquarium Administrator of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, who had a presentation on “Careers in Marine Biology and Oceanography,” as well as displaying live grunion for students to interact with.
Students were able to get information from the Bird Rescue Center, the second of two new California oiled wildlife centers. Represented by Mr. Dave Weeshoff, who spoke about the center located in San Pedro, and operated by the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) and overseen by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN). IBRRC has cared for over 140 species of wild birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Nancy Felix, from SA Recycling, spoke to students about “Air Quality Improvement,” and SA’s, Craig Andrich, demonstrated how SA recycles scrap metal.
The US Coast Guard was represented by LTJG John Strickland, who spoke on “Environmental Careers in the Coast Guard,” and Alex Warwood, with a display of Coast Guard opportunities and careers.
Lieutenant Commander Peter Fischel, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, showed how NOAA works with the Coast Guard, who helps them with logistics as they coordinate necropsies on whales. NOAA uses that information in the quest to mitigate whale/ship interactions.
The day-long event concluded with students having the opportunity to complete written pledges for “A Billion Acts of Green,” Earth Day’s way of mobilizing the power of people to create change by taking small steps. Each student was encouraged to write down at least one thing they would do to help protect the environment.
Cassandra, a 10th grade student from San Pedro’s Earth Alert Academy, when speaking at the ITEP Annual Dinner on Earth Day, said, “Now we’re ready to seize every opportunity presented to us to help make a positive change. Whether it’s at San Pedro High School, or somewhere else in the world, all that matters is that we’re helping make the world a better place. Thanks to our gifted teachers and administrators, who have opened our hearts and our minds to the environment. We are thankful for what we have learned, and are excited for whatever it may be that San Pedro has for us next. So get ready, because once you get us started, we’ll never stop!”
Go Green Generation!