Seeking Volunteers: Fifth Graders to Lead March 25 Beach Cleanup

On Saturday, March 25 from 2:00 to 4:00pm, the Mount Madonna School (MMS) fifth grade class is organizing a community beach cleanup of Platforms Beach in Aptos. Volunteers of all ages are invited to join in the effort; the students will supply trash bags and buckets; each volunteer should bring their own gloves. Platforms Beach is located at 439 Beach Drive in Aptos.

“My fifth grade class is doing an environmental project focused on pelicans,” shared student Marc Monclus in a letter, on behalf of his class, to the school administration. “We are working to do many things to protect these birds and the ocean. We are making a movie to educate others, and are also working to raise money to adopt a pelican.

“As part of our project to help pelicans, we are planning this community beach cleanup,” he continued. “We will gather at Platforms Beach at 2:00pm on Saturday, March 25. We will also be hosting a sustainable bake sale to raise funds for our adopted pelican. We would be ecstatic if you came and supported our efforts and the ocean!”

Among those joining in this effort, will be some of Mount Madonna’s middle and high school students. 

“The Environmental Justice Club is participating and we’ll be working with the fifth grade on March 25 to clean up Platforms beach,” said senior student and club leader Mariah Cohen. “Our members are choosing to help with this beach cleanup particularly now because of all the rains we’ve been having. We have learned that the watersheds all lead to the oceans, so trash thrown on the ground gets carried away by rains into the ocean, where plants and animals can get hurt.”

MMS fifth grade students said the cleanup effort is part of a broader community service project that seeks to educate the public and remove trash and debris from beaches to help benefit the ecosystem and reduce the threat to marine animals and sea birds. Earlier this month, the students visited the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Reserve in Moss Landing, where they participated in an educational program to learn more about the important role that Elkhorn Slough plays in the health of Monterey Bay and the survival of pelicans and other seabirds.

“Plastic on the beach can affect pelicans and other birds because they eat it and it makes them think they are full,” commented Monclus. “In fact, an estimated one million seabirds die each year from eating plastic. Through efforts such as the beach cleanup, we hope to help reduce the 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean and keep the 380 million metric tons of plastic created every year from entering the ocean.”

The spirit of student empowerment and a shared commitment to service runs deep at Mount Madonna School. 

“We want to do our part as environmental stewards and representatives to keep our oceans clean and our animals safe,” added Cohen “Many of us have gone through fifth grade at Mount Madonna, so we know how important the annual environmental project is to each class, and we want to help the fifth graders out by joining them and keeping them inspired to help the world.”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,  

Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believes a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.

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