CGCC students join Ocean Blue Beach clean-up project
Recently, Columbia Gorge Community College students taking Environmental Science 173 and Oceanography 108 watched videos in class describing the infamous “trash island” in the Pacific Ocean, a huge eddy of floating trash gathered by ocean currents.
Students were inspired to make a change to their own beaches, and contacted the Ocean Blue Project, headquartered in Bend, which is known for its work preserving and maintaining Oregon and Washington coastlines.
Both these classes require focus projects, and the students wanted to volunteer their efforts reducing ocean pollutants to complete their class requirements. The two-day trip took place in early May on Manzanita Beach, where students learned from Park Rangers and professionals at Blue Ocean Project about the seriousness and reality of consumption and plastic waste. The following day they embarked upon their own beach clean-up along Manzanita Beach, applying skills and knowledge acquired from the park rangers and Blue Ocean Project.
Students used information from their Environmental Science and Oceanography studies to understand the area, its geography, access and use of the beach, and how local human activity affects the physical and biological factors of the space. In addition, they hope to draw upon this information for future beach cleanup.
Students participating were Caitlyn Hill, Erin Wheeler, Fred Hope, Adriana Padilla and Andrea Padilla.