Antioch High Earth Team spent this week conducting a litter assessment at their school. Interns determined that most of the litter found was plastics, and food wrappers. This lead them to believe that lunch was predominantly the time when students were littering due to a lack of recycling bins in quads. Antioch High is only a couple miles away from the Bay, this means that storm drains from the school and litter traveling by wind can easily enter the marine environment. Marine debris is a huge environmental issue, and can mean the unfortunate deaths of countless marine species, and negative impacts on these vital ecosystems. Interns have decided to educate their peers on the effects of littering on their local environment, and what can they do to stop being a part of the problem and become the solution. On December 6th, Earth Team will present to 20 different classes at Antioch High, and provide recycling bins in the quads at lunch in order to make a small positive difference that hopefully has lasting impacts on their peers.
This week in honor of Election Day, Antioch Earth Team participated in a friendly debate and discussion about the banning of single use plastic bags in California. Interns researched and discussed the two props that pertained to the banning of single use plastic bags, Prop 65 and 67. Interns then broke into groups representing Proposition 65 and 67, and attempted to persuade Program Associate, Julia Dorosh, to vote yes on their given prop. The hot topics were whether it was right to charge consumers 10 cents per plastic bag especially those experiencing financial struggles, the ecological benefits to watersheds and oceans from the banning of plastic bags, and where the revenue from plastic bags purchases should be distributed. Interns learned that both Propositions supported the continuing ban on single use plastic bags, but differed in many ways. Ultimately, interns were supportive of any Proposition that helps our environment, and were happy to know that California’s natural world will not be experiencing such high levels of plastic bag litter in years to come.
Antioch High Earth Team enjoyed a beautiful and productive Saturday at the DOW Wetlands Preserve located near the Antioch Marina. The DOW Wetlands Preserve was created on Earth Day in 1990, and consists of 471 acres of protected land that is completely open to the public. DOW purchased the land in order to create an environmental buffer zone to protect the bay from runoff pollution originating from neighboring towns, Antioch and Pittsburg. Tidal wetlands and small ponds dominate 200 acres of the land, and provide habitat for endangered and threatened species. The wetlands provide a natural filtration system for water flowing to the bay through Kirker Creek and Antioch Creek. Unfortunately, a vast amount of litter still enters these creeks from storm drains that run through the Preserve. Krist Jenson, a former DOW employee, and current Wetlands Preserve Volunteer, had students help remove litter from these storm drains and also gave them a guided tour of the Preserve. Krist captured the curiosity of ET interns by highlighting the native flora and fauna. The adorable river otters and beavers were the most intriguing to the students. Earth Team will be joining Krist again in January to assist the DOW Wetlands Preserve volunteers in necessary habitat restoration efforts.
“My favorite part of the field day was enjoying a nice 3 mile walk outdoors while learning all about the species and plants at DOW.” -Jaden Waters
“Something new I learned is that catttails help filter water” -Hannah Ong