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Learning by Doing as an ILACSD Intern

Today’s post comes from ILACSD’s Community Events Intern, Gabe Grinstein.

Gabe (left) with other ILACSD Interns at San Diego River Days

Hello San Diego,

It is nice to finally be back in this great city after a long and chilly school year at the University of Michigan. I just finished my third year of college, where I am majoring in Earth and Environmental Sciences with a minor in the Program in the Environment (PITE). As you can see by what I study, I have a strong passion for the environment. Since I am graduating next May, I really wanted to see what working in an environmental organization was all about, and I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) has been the perfect place.

As a homegrown North County kid, having attending Torrey Pines High School and being surrounded by this city’s renowned beauty, I have always held San Diego in high regard. However, many environmental problems still persist in our community, both coastal and inland, and joining ILACSD has given me a chance to make a real difference. After a month of working here I have learned many valuable skills that will go a long way in my work in the environmental field.

The whole staff has really made me feel at home right from the beginning. Of course there have been frustrating times where I get tasks such as endless filing of names and waivers, but then what are interns for?  However, they do give me responsibility such as second-in-command at the San Diego River Days cleanup. I also took a tutorial for ArcGIS mapping, which taught me how to make dynamic maps (such as all the details in Google Maps) so I will be able to map out storm drains throughout San Diego for ILACSD’s Storm Drain Stenciling program. This tool will be very useful for any environmental assessment in the future.

Just some of the trash picked up at Clean Canyons

This past Saturday we hosted Clean Canyons for a Clean Coast, an inland cleanup at Chollas Creek. With an attendance of 47 people, we had a decent turnout and stayed busy cleaning up the area. There was plenty of trash for everyone to grab the entire time, and I feel like we at least made a dent in the heavily polluted canyon. We ended up collecting 315 pounds of recycling and filling up one whole rolloff dumpster of trash, which added up to 4,360 pounds!

We are keeping the events rolling as we are hosting Kids’ Ocean Day this coming Thursday at Crown Point Shores. I have never participated in the cleanup, but have heard it is a blast and at the end a helicopter flies over and takes a picture of everyone sitting in the formation of a sea creature.

Aerial art formation at Kids’ Ocean Day 2011

I will have to start at 5 am that day, which is not favorable for a college student, but there is no better way to spend an early work day than at the beach.

Until next time,
Gabriel Grinstein