By Chapter Chair, Laura Oergel

One Step Forward

As a volunteer for The Surfrider Foundation Ventura County chapter’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program (OFG), I recently I had the pleasure of working with Parkview Elementary School in Port Hueneme on a project in the school’s native garden. Invited by Rocio Lozano-Knowlton with the MERITO Foundation as part of their Blue-Green School program, we worked with teachers Jon Mortensen and Nanette Melero and Principal Cara Comstock to teach 4th grade students about water conservation and how to prevent contaminated roof run-off from ending up in storm drains, which previously would then have flowed into the ocean. A core requirement of an OFG.

The students learned what a swale is and how to calculate the volume of rain in an event based on the square footage of the roofs that each of the 12 down spouts could potentially capture. The necessary total cubic feet of each of the swales was then calculated. As seen in these photos, it worked! During our swale building workday, a big shout out to our volunteers, we also installed 4 rain barrels and the school now has the benefit of this water after the storm ends. What a successful collaboration and wonderful learning opportunity for everyone!

Two Steps Back

As a volunteer for Surfrider VC’s Ormond Beach Program, Ormond Beach is located in South Oxnard, I have led beach clean ups and struggle to understand how to find upstream solutions to the trash pollution problem within the city of Oxnard. In a significant rain event like this recent one in these pictures, the 3 waterways that empty into Ormond Lagoon will carry windblown litter and illegally dumped trash from the residents and homeless population into the lagoon and subsequently into the ocean if the lagoon breeches. This area was clean up until the last 2 rains.

EVERYTHING flows to the ocean so please remember these ways to make a positive difference: Come out to a cleanup or do a solo cleanup in your community. Talk to your councilmember, mayor, city manager and district supervisor about the environmental crisis at Ormond Beach and in South Oxnard. See what they are willing to do to step up and become proactive about trash pollution through things like anti-litter messaging. By the time it’s in the waterways, it’s too late. Educators, teach your students that they make a difference in the health of the community and our environment, particularly our ocean. Use clean ups to offer extra credit, and community service credit opportunities. We have many Oxnard Union and Pt. Hueneme students that come out to clean ups now. Let’s get them all! Have a classroom foster a beach.  We must take steps together, because nothing will change if we don’t change.