The Play-by-Play of Kids’ Ocean Day

Hats off to another successful Kids’ Ocean Day – ILACSD’s 18th and the state’s 23rd  annual event! Kids’ Ocean Day is a unique, annual event centered on engaging our youth as environmental stewards. After a school assembly about ocean conservation, 3rd-5th grade students from eight Title 1 schools around the county joined together at South Mission Beach to leave a lasting impact on their environment.

Take a look at how we spent the day!

Staff arrived at 5:00 AM to lay the aerial art design in the sand.


Volunteer groups, like Kohl’s Associates in Action, led students during the cleanup to ensure the day ran smoothly!


Thanks to additional sponsorship this year, ILACSD provided 50 reusable buckets for the cleanup, reducing the amount of disposable trash bags used at this event.


Volunteers reviewed safety tips for the cleanup and got students energized for the day!


Over 950 students, teachers, and volunteers participated in a beach cleanup, ensuring fewer pieces of land litter become marine debris.


Zero Waste in action! Most students created temporary trash bins from repurposed milk jugs, which they later recycled.


Fresh air + fresh dance moves + a freshly cleaned beach = a great day.
Students waiting patiently for the helicopter to circle overhead and capture the perfect shot of the aerial art.

And lastly, the official image! Great job, team! To get involved with an upcoming event, please visit!

Aerial Art - Kids' Ocean Day 2016

Unique Partnership Captures Cross-Border Message

SONY DSCFor today’s blog, ILACSD’s Development & Marketing Coordinator, Sarah, collaborated with Lucy Eagleson, Program Coordinator & Media Educator from Outside the Lens (OTL) to highlight one of ILACSD’s most cherished partnerships. Read on to learn more about how we meshed digital media and environmental stewardship to bring our Kids’ Ocean Day aerial art to life!

First, a little bit of background information about OTL, Lucy and how this partnership came to be.

Lucy spends a lot of her time as a Media Educator in San Diego classrooms, helping students find their voice within and express it through digital media arts. By looking at current and historical photography and films, students come to understand that a picture is often worth a thousand words, and sometimes even more. Lucy enjoys partnering with I Love A Clean San Diego for Kids’ Ocean Day because it brings together her passion for photography and making a difference in our community.

Kids' Ocean Day 2012
Kids’ Ocean Day 2012


ILACSD staff have worked together with OTL for Kids’ Ocean Day for many years now, but this year we threw Lucy a curve ball – a bi-national aerial art image. Without going into too many details, a bi-national aerial art image posed some challenges for Lucy and the Corporate Helicopter team, but at the end of the day we couldn’t be happier with the end result.

Lucy Eagleson - OTL
“I believe in the power of images and the stories they tell. Images speak where words cannot, and carry within them beautiful narratives that have the momentum to move people to change.” – Lucy Eagleson, OTL

Close to 1,200 students, their teachers and volunteers from both sides of the border came together to remove harmful pieces of beach debris along Border Field State Park and Playas de Tijuana. After the cleanup, one-by-one, the students filled into the aerial art outline to form this year’s cross-border aerial art image and commemorate the first-ever bi-national Kids’ Ocean Day! Below is one of our favorite pictures of the aerial art formation coming to life!

Students filling in the aerial art formation and patiently waiting for Lucy in the helicopter to capture the art from the sky!


This stunning image clearly demonstrates that we all need to do our part to protect our environment and that the ocean knows no borders. The message reads “UNITE POR EL MAR” which translates to unite for the sea. This image has received an overwhelming response on social media and from local media alike, for which we are extremely grateful.

First-ever bi-national Kids’ Ocean Day aerial art image!

It goes without saying that a special “thank you” goes out to Outside The Lens, Lucy, and the Corporate Helicopter team for capturing this powerful image!

Be sure to follow and like ILACSD and OTL on your favorite social media networks to stay connected to the great work happening year-round!

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Twitter_logo_blueTwitter: – @ilacsd – @OutsideTheLens

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About Outside the Lens – Outside the Lens empowers youth to use digital media to create change within themselves, their community, and the world. Students see how the power of their photos can speak louder than words and even inspire change in the community around them.


Kids’ Ocean Day Migrates South this Winter!

Erika-teamToday’s blog comes from our Education Coordinator and Kids’ Ocean Day extraordinaire, Erika! Each year, ILACSD invites students to see first-hand how pollution negatively impacts our ocean as well as the opportunity to send a powerful message to the greater San Diego community through aerial art – but this year there is a twist. Read on to see what’s new about this year’s Kids’ Ocean Day and how you can get involved!

What does it look like, when 1000 students, teachers, and volunteers come together to actively conserve the environment? This:

2014 Kids’ Ocean Day aerial art formation
This is the image of the 2014 Kids’ Ocean Day aerial art formation.

 Join us Thursday, February 26th from 8am – noon at Border Field State Park!

For the past 12 years, I Love A Clean San Diego has participated alongside 5 Californian cities to celebrate World Oceans Day through Kids’ Ocean Day; a program funded by the California Coastal Commission. This is a multifaceted event, starting with an ocean conservation assembly, then students have the opportunity to take action through a beach cleanup, and can educate others by creating a message that can be seen from the sky.

microplastics_TheGuardianThis couldn’t be happening at a better time. Right now, our oceans are in trouble. Data show our oceans are inundated with trash, specifically plastic pollution. Each of our five major gyres has garbage patches; our local North Pacific Gyre has three. Microplastics, which create a plastic soup in our oceans, are found to absorb chemicals in the ocean, creating a cesspool of toxic waste animals cannot escape. Millions of animals die annually of starvation, with bellies full of plastic. Now is when we need a change. Now is when we need help. We need help to keep our oceans alive.

albatrossAfter educating students on information like the Pacific Garbage Patch and Midway Atoll, I find that most students immediately want to make a change and take action. Kids’ Ocean Day provides this opportunity. This year, we are taking it a step further. This year, we are expanding our program to include not one, but two nations. The ocean is one thing that connects the global world, so we feel like we should act globally through a bi-national Kids’ Ocean Day. Students from both sides of the border will be participating in a beach cleanup and then will create an aerial art image that spans two countries. This year’s image celebrates the ocean while asking for help. It is a message from the ocean, which will read “Unite por el mar” / “Unite for the sea!”


At this time, we are still in the process of recruiting volunteers. If you are interested in helping and celebrating the ocean, please contact Lexi at Unite por el mar!

Kids’ Ocean Day: Through The Years

Today’s blog post comes from Monica Rosquillas, our environmental educator.

Kids’ Ocean Day is just around the corner, only 1 week away! This is a BIG event; almost 1,000 San Diego Unified Elementary school students from 7 title-one schools will come out to the beach to participate in a cleanup and be part of an aerial art formation.   Although I Love A Clean San Diego has been participating in Kids Ocean Day for the last 15 years, this is my first Kids Ocean Day and I couldn’t be more excited…and nervous.  If you would like to be a part of this one-of-a-kind event, adult volunteers are needed from 8am-12pm. Please contact Lexi Ambrogi at

A sketch of this year's aerial art
A sketch of this year’s aerial art

What is aerial art? Good question! It is art that you can see from the sky! Participants gather to create a message of conservation, which will be captured by Out of the Lens photographer, Niki, in a helicopter.  To help us out on this big day we’ll have more than 100 amazing volunteers, including teachers and parents. So how exactly do we get the image on the ground? The ILACSD Aerial Art Team will be arriving very early in the morning to outline the design of the aerial art. This part is crucial; we have to make sure everything is measured out precisely so that our design comes out as planned.  Communication and attention to detail are key, after all, it takes a lot of hands to turn a 8.5”x11” drawing into a 170’x300’ aerial art piece. After the cleanup, the students will form part of the aerial art. Once everyone is in place, a helicopter will fly overhead and Niki will take photographs from a bird’s eye view. Since we can’t see what the design looks like from the ground, we have to trust that we measured everything correctly and that our design came out well. This is the moment we are looking forward to with most anticipation! Fortunately, we have a few Kids’ Ocean Day veterans on our aerial art team who have years of experience. As you can see from the pictures, I Love A Clean San Diego has done a great job with previous aerial art design and event execution, and although we do have a very daunting task ahead of us, we are positive this year’s Kids’ Ocean Day will be a success!

Every year, Kids’ Ocean Day sends a new message that’s all about protecting and conserving our Oceans. The message this year is “Listen”. What’s so great about this message is that it is from the kids, and it can be interpreted in different ways. What does it mean to you?

This year’s design is child holding a shell to her ear and the word “Listen”. The kid with the shell is a bit of change from previous years when we’ve had marine animals be our aerial art piece. That’s why this year’s is unique and special. In previous years we’ve had an Octopus, a Mako Shark, a California Least Tern, A Sea Turtle, A Bottlenose Dolphin, a Gray Whale, and a snail. All of these are important animal species that inhabit our local marine habitats.

Our 2012 aerial art sketch turns into...
Our 2012 aerial art sketch turns into…
A real-life image made up of almost 1,000 kids!
A real-life image made up of almost 1,000 kids!

Why do this? Why do we arrive at the beach at 5 in the morning and bring hundreds of students and adults to form a child and shell in the sand? Partly because the aerial art looks really cool. All those little dots in the picture are actually people, forming a huge image, it’s not something you do every day. We hope the children experience this as well. They get to come to the beach on a school day, actively help the environment by participating in a beach cleanup, and be a part of this cool picture that they can have forever. The most important part is that they are giving the message of “Listen”; telling the world we have to listen to the ocean and help.