ILACSD Internships: More than copies and coffee

Brittany HuthHi there! My name is Brittany and this summer, I was a Community Programs Intern at I Love A Clean San Diego. I recently graduated from San Diego State University in December with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration. In my free time I enjoy exploring and taking pictures of scenic locations in San Diego, as well as watching my favorite sports teams – Go Padres! As a San Diego native, I grew up around the water, doing everything from surfing, wakeboarding, skiing, kayaking, and sailing.  I love being outdoors, and that’s why I have a huge passion for the environment!

In my undergraduate studies, I took a class that focused on contemporary urban issues. In this course, we focused on the best methods of sustainable living, and learned about environmental hazards. The topic that concerned me the most was the abundance of plastic bags found in our oceans harming and killing our marine life. This is one of reasons why I applied for an internship with I Love A Clean San Diego.

Marine life often mistake small pieces of plastics and plastic bags for food which leads to starvation. In this picture, the content of the albatross’s stomach includes bottle caps, and a lighter.

The Community Outreach Intern position sparked my interest because I wanted to expand my knowledge on environmental issues, as well as provide me with the opportunity to give back to the San Diego region. As an intern, I performed a variety of tasks both in-office and out in the community at our events. In the office, I typically focused on outreach to colleges to get students involved, tracked data from cleanup events, organized supplies for events, and coordinated my internship project. At the ILACSD cleanup events, I provided volunteers with supplies as well as informed them about upcoming events and other programs ILACSD offers.

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The ILACSD recycling board is a great way to test your knowledge and learn about the newest recyclable items.

To wrap up my internship experience, I organized a beach cleanup at Whispering Sands Beach in La Jolla. I was accompanied by my close family and friends, who were more than happy to participate! This provided me the opportunity to share with them everything that I learned during my time as an ILACSD intern including information about proper recycling and waste disposal, and ILACSD’s Adopt a Beach Program. In the two-hour cleanup we collected more than 15 pounds of trash and over 400 cigarette butts. To conclude my project I create a short video clip of the beach cleanup!


My experience with ILACSD has been nothing short of positive! Since I started interning with ILACSD, I have challenged myself to become more environmentally aware of my living habits and to try to make better choices.  Some of the changes I have made include using reusable bags for grocery shopping, recycling more, conserving water by using buckets in the shower, and properly disposing of hazardous materials. I am excited for the change this organization is making in the community and I’m forever grateful for being a part of it! Thank you, I Love A Clean San Diego!

If you’re interested in learning more about environmental issues impacting our local environment please consider applying for one of ILACSD’s internship opportunities. Applications are being accepted now with the intention of the internship starting this Fall. More information is available at

The ILACSD team  at one of our annual countywide cleanups, Creek to Bay!

Meet Our New Marketing Intern, Bri Lobato!

We are all excited and lucky to have Bri on board as our newest intern. Bri will help out in the office’s marketing department; keep an eye out for her future blog and social media posts. She’s also taken charge of our ILACSD instagram account: follow us at ILoveACleanSD. Welcome, Bri!image

My name is Bri Lobato and I am the new marketing intern for I Love A Clean San Diego! I’m graduating this December from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences. I’ve had a passion for sustainability and nature since childhood, so applying that to my career endeavors has been the goal for a long time. Being given this opportunity to work with one of San Diego’s most influential nonprofits one of my first steps in the journey, and I plan on learning a lot about marketing, event coordinating, and community outreach from this organization and each of the awesome people I’m getting to work with.

Things about me? Well let’s see, I’ll start with the fact that nothing puts a smile on my face more quickly than an English bulldog. A close second would be Mexican food of ANY sort, especially if my mom or my Nana is in the kitchen . I have a new found love for cooking, and I love to do yoga and draw in my spare time. I’m currently in the ironically frustrating process of learning how to meditate. I grew up in a suburban bubble I like to refer to as Valencia, California (Six Flags Magic Mountain?), and if you ever happen to drop by The Westin San Diego, you can find me at The Bar making drinks and making days. OH, and I am a huge fan of the nu-disco music scene. I go to music shows of all shapes and sizes at any chance I get, because music contributes to my happiness level more than anything else in this world. To put it all shortly: Environmentalism + Event Coordinating + Music = My Ultimate Dream Career Combination. Thank you to I Love a Clean San Diego for giving me the opportunity to learn, grow, contribute, and dive into the green movement!

Breaking Down Coastal Cleanup 2013!

Today’s blog post comes from our new marketing intern, Bri Lobato. Bri is currently studying environmental science and loves cheese enchiladas and English imageBulldogs. We’re thrilled to have her helping out at ILACSD!

As of September 21st, San Diego is free of 75 tons of debris thanks to each and every one of our 7,500 volunteers this year at I Love A Clean San Diego’s Coastal Cleanup Day! Families, friends, students, sponsors, locals, visitors, and even some loyal pets took some time out of their Saturday morning to help keep San Diego beautiful, and everyone involved made this event more successful than ever. Across a record breaking 102 sites in San Diego County, volunteers of all ages came out to give back to the city they love by picking up litter, participating in service projects, and storm drain stenciling.

Volunteers cleaning a creek bed near Gompers Park
Volunteers cleaning up Chollas Creek near Gompers Park

Kickoff started at 9am at the Gompers Park site where 250+ volunteers heard from Supervisor Greg Cox, Mayor Todd Gloria and Councilmember Myrtle Cole, as well as I Love A Clean San Diego’s very own Executive Director, Pauline Martinson, to get them fired up before going out into the neighborhood and local creek to hunt for waste. News crews were there to capture their influential words about why events like Coastal Cleanup Day are important to both the environment and the community. Volunteers at this site were able to choose among creek cleanup, mulching, invasive plant removal, painting a mural made of tire scraps, trail building and stenciling storm drains, so everyone was able to take part in their own way. No matter the task, every volunteer across the County was given a free Chipotle coupon as a reward for their efforts…and who doesn’t love Chipotle!?  When 75 tons of trash is involved, you bet there were some unusual and interesting items we heard about:  bowling balls, a rooster, a steering wheel, and even a sweet female pit bull puppy were recovered! (She has been rescued and is on the road to recovery).  There was also a “Bling Your Bucket” contest, where kids decorated their own reusable litter hauling bucket.

We found bowling balls! One of ILACSD's staff managed to shot put these guys into the dumpster
We found bowling balls! Some of ILACSD’s staff managed to shot put these guys into the dumpster
"Bling Your Bucket" contest entrants, each doing their part to "make this world happier"
“Bling Your Bucket” contest entrants, each doing their part to “make this world happier”

Shout out to our site captains who were instrumental in making the event run smoothly and effectively. BIG thanks to our sponsors San Diego Gas & Electric, the Country of San Diego, Think Blue San Diego and MANY more for making Coastal Cleanup Day an event that so much of the community could participate in and enjoy! A very special big thank you goes to all of the volunteers who made Coastal Cleanup Day worthwhile, and who made a difference by taking part in the largest volunteer event that San Diego County has to offer. It wouldn’t be possible without you guys! We will see you all next year for CCD 2014!!

A Big Welcome To Our Community Events Intern, Maddy!

Today’s blog post comes from Maddy Kutsch. Welcome, Maddy-we’re so excited to have you on board!maddy

I joined I Love A Clean San Diego almost a month ago now (Woo!) as a Community Events intern and enjoy every second of it! I am focusing on creating maps of cleanup sites and other ILACSD programs through ArcMap, a mapping and geospatial information program. Recently, I completed a map of Storm Drain Stenciling locations completed by volunteers in the last three years in order to discover missed locations in the City of San Diego that may not have been otherwise apparent. I also finished a map of our Adopt A Beach locations alongside the schools that received visits from our Education Department, so that schools can see which cleanup sites are convenient and practical to potentially adopt. Currently, I am starting to undertake a mapping project to determine the countywide use of the R-1-EARTH Recycling hotline by comparing the origins of calls with volunteer-reported hazardous waste dump sites across the county. It will be a challenging project, and I cannot wait to continue to aid I Love A Clean San Diego through digital analysis and mapping.

On June 6, I was lucky enough to be a part of ILACSD’s annual Kids’ Ocean Day, a massive event encompassing almost 1,000 children and resulting in a huge areal art image (if you want to learn more about the event and see our photo, head over to I still feel honored to have been included in the event, and it will be something I remember forever.

Here I am at Kids' Ocean Day, measuring out the grid for our aerial art.
Here I am at Kids’ Ocean Day, measuring out the grid for our aerial art. Despite my very serious face, I was super excited about the project!

Currently, I am a San Diego State student, about to begin my final year of my Bachelor’s degree in Geography: Environmental Resource Analysis. I am also in the process of completing SDSU’s certificate in Geospatial Information Systems, so that I can work with digital maps in the future. After this year, I plan on pursuing a Masters in Geography either in San Diego or Los Angeles.

In my free time, I geek out and create costumes for the upcoming San Diego ComicCon (nothing fancy, just for me!). I also travel when I have the money, and have visited many countries around the world. This exposure to other countries in varying degrees of urbanization and development sparked my passion for sustainable growth and environmental awareness at all levels of economic and social class, and I am excited to further discover how I Love A Clean San Diego creates positive environmental change in the community.

Meet our new Marketing Intern, Christina!

christinaToday’s post comes from ILACSD’s newest Marketing Intern, Christina Etchebarren!

Hey there readers of this blog and fans of I Love A Clean San Diego! My name is Christina, I’m the new Marketing Intern here at ILACSD and I’m so excited to be joining the team and learning from the wonderful staff and volunteers. I am a fourth year Environmental Systems major at UC San Diego, originally from a small town outside of Portland, Oregon. Growing up I’ve always been surrounded by environmentally conscientious communities, so it was no surprise that learning about and protecting our environment has turned in to a passion of mine. Letting people know about what we’re up to at ILACSD is a part of my job description and my first assignment was to attend one of our education presentations at University City High School on Tuesday, Feb. 12th.

monica_educationArriving at the high school brought back a strange wave of nostalgia for my carefree, hormone charged, rebellious teenage days and I kind of felt like never leaving. I sat myself in the back row of a marine science classroom trying to blend in inconspicuously as the students noisily settled into their seats. Monica Rosquillas, who is one of our lovely educators, introduced herself and took control of the students attention with a quickness and ease that would impress the pants off of any HS teacher I’m sure; high schoolers can be some of the most difficult crowds to reign in and she did so with confidence that can only come from plenty of experience.

monica_watershedThe presentation began with a lesson on the importance of water, which may seem obvious but sometimes all of us need a reminder about just how vital clean water is to not only our health, but the health of every living thing around us. The rest of the lesson plan was focused on watersheds, water quality and marine ecosystem health. Talking about environmental issues can be an extremely difficult task because you don’t want to come across as threatening or pessimistic and you don’t want present the problem  as overwhelmingly large or beyond help, but you do want to make it seem important and urgent enough to motivate people to care and to take action. The presentation that I Love A Clean San Diego has put together walks the line quite gracefully, and I noticed that even from the back of the classroom, all of the students seemed to stay engaged throughout the entire duration of the talk.

Stomach contents from an Albatross include plastic caps, fishing line, and even a small wooden door knob.

Monica hit the message home by passing around a jar filled with contents from an Albatross’ stomach which included a pen and several other pieces of colorful plastic, I heard murmurs of horror coming from the pupils as they passed the jar around with disgust.  To be honest, although I’ve gone through several years of environmental education throughout my time at UCSD, I learned a lot about watersheds and how important it is that we do our best to keep them clean.

All in all, I walked out of University City High School proud to be a part of such an amazing and inspiring organization and feeling hopeful for our future generations of environmental enthusiasts, and I look forward to the months ahead here at ILACSD.

You’ll hear from me soon, until next time.


Intern Spotlight: Gabe Grinstein

Today’s post comes from our summer Community Events Intern, Gabe Grinstein. Gabe has been an amazingly dedicated and vital part of our team over the past few months. From helping at cleanup events to inventing new educational displays for our volunteers, Gabe has been resourceful and has always shown a positive attitude, regardless of the task. Everyone here at ILACSD would like to thank Gabe and we wish him the best of luck in school and during his upcoming research project!

Gabe helping tally trash collected at the Morning After Mess cleanup

I am finishing up my internship this week with I Love A Clean San Diego. I wish I could stay longer, but I am going to Wyoming to complete a field research requirement for my undergraduate concentration. My time here has flown by, keeping busy reaching deadlines to make sure we are ready for cleanups and other tasks such as inventing educational displays for site captains to make during Coastal Cleanup Day in September. I have had such a blast, thanks to the always-cheerful and welcoming attitude of the staff here. Every staff member has been fantastic, but I would like to give a special thank you to Jemma De Leon. As my supervisor, I worked with Jemma on a daily basis and she made my work here so much easier, whether it was calling a client when they wouldn’t take my previously agreed upon posters or helping me clean the storage room.

Gabe displaying the educational displays he created

I learned so much from this internship that I will surely take for my future in the environmental field. So many things go unnoticed in planning a cleanup or in any environmental initiative, but every step is important in making it successful. I am planning on conducting a research after I graduate which shows the effects of sports on the environment and ways to make it more sustainable. Even an area as beautiful as San Diego needs improvement, making it hard to imagine how much needs to be done in other cities across the United States and abroad. If everyone could portray just a small amount of the passion I saw working with the staff here and volunteers at events, it would surely turn around our environmental problems.

Although I won’t be able to participate in any ILACSD events anymore, I will still help the environment somewhere else. I hope all of you continue with it as well.

Gabriel Grinstein

Tires Flew & Heads Rolled at our Tijuana River Valley Cleanup!

Today’s post comes from ILACSD’s Outreach Intern, Ian!

Our Best Tijuana River Valley Cleanup Yet!

Hello, my name is Ian MacGregor and I am ILACSD’s newest Outreach Intern, I am a 16 year old high school student. I became an intern here at ILACSD because I wanted to assist in the effort to beautify our county. I’ve loved my time so far here and hope to continue interning for a long time.

This past Saturday more than 150 volunteers worked very hard to beautify the southernmost part of our county, the Tijuana River Valley. Just south of a sod farm and just north of the border, the volunteers worked very hard collecting trash and recyclables. They collected about 2000 pounds of trash, a whole dumpster full of bottles and other plastics and somewhere around 130 tires.

In previous years, we have had around 75 volunteers. Having double that amount was a great sign that our efforts to spread the word about the cleanups are working. Participants ranged from middle schoolers working to improve their community to 15 Job Corps participants searching for some community service to put on their résumé. From a clique of friends just looking for a great activity on a Saturday morning to a long time participant happy to see the growth of the cleanup.

You never know what you’ll find at our cleanups!

There were three sponsor booths there: our I Love a Clean San Diego tent or the registration tent, a WiLDCOAST tent that educating participants about their organization, and an Ocean Minded tent that gave away free merchandise. There was even a major TV news station covering the event.

During the cleanup, we found everything from shoes to styrofoam, from a manikin head to cans stuck in cement.

In the end, we are happy to see the growth of the event and to see the great change in the landscape of the river. Below is a Picture of the Job Corps Members, our staff and our interns sitting on the pile of tires we collected. Thank you to all our volunteers and all our sponsors.

Maddy Blake: My Internship with I Love A Clean San Diego

Today’s post comes from ILACSD’s Marketing & Community Events Intern, Maddy Blake.

My name is Madelyn Blake and I am a senior at the University of San Diego. I’ll be graduating in May 2012 with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy, but my passion lies with environmental stewardship.

As I entered the final semester of my college career, I knew that I wanted to gain internship experience in the environmental field. I’ve always been passionate about these issues but after traveling the world, I realized the harmful impacts human actions have on the natural world around us. While researching environmental non-profit organizations, I stumbled upon I Love A Clean San Diego and knew I Imagewanted to be a part of their cause.

I began interning with ILACSD in February as an Outreach Intern. I attended cleanup events in order to help volunteers with checking in and weighing the bags of trash they returned to us at the end of the day. I loved being out in the sun with like-minded individuals and having the ability to walk around and help out wherever I could. The events are full of energy, fun and dedication towards cleaning the natural habitat. Aside from working at cleanup events, Outreach Interns also attend community festivals and fairs. These are my favorite events because I am able to talk about our organization, our cause and recommend ways for people to get involved. I love sharing what ILACSD is doing in the entirety of San Diego County and learning from other people what environmental issues affect them most often. It provides me with more insight to the unique issues found in our neighborhoods and helps me to understand why ILACSD works throughout the county.

My favorite event this year was in La Mesa at Mt. Helix Park. I Love A Clean San Diego had a booth with an “Emergency” themed game for children. The kids had to pick up different types of trash without letting the buzzer go off, and then place the items in the appropriate places: recycling, hazardous waste, compost or regular, old trash. I loved when the kids were excited about placing the items in the correct places and how they explained why they chose that particular place. I was surprised at how knowledgeable they were and sometimes, they even outshined their parents! It’s refreshing to know that these younger generations have such a great understanding of the environment and realize the impact they can make by doing the right thing.

Although I began interning through our community events department, I started working with the marketing department as well. I primarily worked on research projects in the beginning, but have recently moved on to social media-based projects. This includes writing press releases, blog posts, Facebook updates and Tweets. It’s been really fun because I can be creative and show mine and ILACSD’s Imagepersonality through all of these outlets. This position has given me the opportunity to see our influence on the community through social media and how it allows us to reach more people through Internet-based mediums.

Because of my internships with I Love A Clean San Diego, I’ve learned things both about myself and the environment. As for the latter, the most striking information that I’ve acquired is a knowledge of items that can and cannot be put in the recycling bin. For example, I’ve lived my entire life thinking that flimsy plastic bags are recyclable… they’re not. And I vow to stay far, far away from them. I think the coolest part about ILACSD is their recycling hotline, – it’s so easy and convenient to use. As for myself, I’ve learned that working for a non-profit isn’t always glamorous work, but it’s motivating because you’re working for a higher cause. The people in this office are friendly and really know their stuff. They’re qualified and experienced and just in general, wonderful people who want to make a difference. I thank them for this opportunity and look forward to volunteering with them in future years to come.

The ILACSD staff would like to thank Maddy for her hard work this semester and we wish her the best of luck in the exciting adventures she will embark on after graduation!

Nick Gatelein, An Inspired ILACSD Intern!

One of ILACSD’s trusty Outreach Interns, Nick Gatelein gives an insider perspective on his internship.

Working as an ILACSD Outreach Intern has been an enriching experience that has allowed me to give back to the community in a variety of ways. It has provided me the opportunity to work side by side with various community members to restore numerous locations within San Diego County by removing debris and working directly with volunteers. It has also allowed me to network with a variety of individuals that understand the importance of environmentally sustainable practices. Through this internship I have also been able to see a variety of locations in the San Diego County including Balboa Park, Ocean Beach, along with many other locations that display San Diego’s diverse beauty.

Nick, one of ILACSD's interns at our Open House

One of the major motivating factors that caused me to pursue this internship with I Love A Clean San Diego was the fact that it provided the opportunity to contribute as an individual and to make a difference in this community both environmentally and aesthetically. It has also allowed me to gain experience in organizing community events and working with teams. I have also been able to receive college credit for this internship through San Diego State University. The flexibility of being able to select which events I attend also makes it easy to create a schedule that works around my school schedule. After working for this organization for a few months it has become clear to me that our contributions are making a BIG difference and that we are providing a valuable service to the community. Working the community events has also been a lot fun because of the team members that we work with and all of the volunteers that we get to meet. As on outreach intern at the end of my second month I am glad that I chose to work for this organization and I would recommend it to others in the future!

Thanks Nick for providing your input and encouraging others to follow your lead! To find out more about internship opportunities, log on to